Starboard Value CEO Jeffrey Smith says he is optimistic over his firm's investment in Newell Brands.
"We do believe that there is incredible value at Newell. It's a company with iconic brands. It's brands that we all heard of [such as] Elmer's glue, Sharpie, Paper Mate," he said in an interview with David Faber on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" Tuesday. "It's a great company [with] great employees. Unfortunately, it's lost its way."
Smith revealed in a filing last week his hedge fund is seeking four board seats at Newell Brands, potentially putting the firm at odds with Carl Icahn, who received control over multiple board seats in an agreement with the company last month.
"Carl and I necessarily don't see things that differently. We've had conversations about the company," Smith said. "We both think the company is extremely undervalued. We both think there are operational improvements that are needed ... the difference in opinion right now is what's the best possible board for shareholders going forward."
The activist investor appeared from the sidelines of the 13D Monitor's Annual Active-Passive Investor Summit in New York City.
Smith is a chief executive officer and chief investment officer of Starboard Value LP.