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Investor urges J&J to spin out poor-performing device, consumer businesses

depuy-2014-iconIt’s not a new argument, but it’s back on the table again now in a big way. Activist investor Artisan Partners is working to convince other investors to back splitting conglomerate Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) into three separate businesses.

The Financial Times reported in a Jan. 27 article that the firm’s managing director Daniel O’Keefe made a presentation last year to the board and execs at J&J to lobby for a split into three separate companies for its biopharma, consumer and medical device businesses. The last has been performing poorly and was just the focus of a restructuring announced earlier this week.

Artisan Partners followed up with an open letter from O’Keefe to the J&J board on Jan. 28 that details the firm’s objections to J&J’s existing structure. The firm, which has roughly $100 billion under management, had a $445 million stake in J&J at Sept. 30.

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