Report: Activist Investor Peltz Could Begin Publicly Prodding PepsiCo

By

Published July 17, 2013

| FOXBusiness

Billionaire corporate raider Nelson Peltz could soon go public with his arguments for improving PepsiCo's (PEP) shareholder returns, including by considering a mega-deal to acquire Oreo maker Mondelez International (MDLZ). 

That’s because a previously-agreed upon timeframe between PepsiCo and Peltz’s Trian Fund Management to privately evaluate the activist investor’s proposals may soon be expiring, Reuters reported.

Peltz took a stake in both PepsiCo and Cadbury parent Mondelez earlier this year, fueling reports indicating the corporate raider was plotting a huge merger of the food and beverage giants.

According to Reuters, Peltz and PepsiCo agreed on a timeframe to consider the investor’s suggestions, including acquiring Mondelez, strategic options for the company’s North American beverage operations and enhanced cost-cutting moves.

Talks are ongoing and have been constructive, but the original deadline has passed, prompting speculation Peltz could make his case in a more public fashion, the wire service reported.

As of the end of the first quarter, Peltz owned a combined $2.19 billion worth of shares in PepsiCo and Mondelez.

In an emailed statement, Mondelez said it has "created significant value through our transformation. We’re focused on leveraging our advantaged category mix, leading market positions and strong geographic footprint to deliver top-tier financial performance and enhance value for all our shareholders."

Mondelez broke off from North American grocery company Kraft (KRFT) last year.

A PepsiCo spokesperson said the company already has a "strong growth strategy and structure in place" and its results "prove that we are a high performing company and out strategy is working."

The spokesperson also said PepsiCo continues to make "significant progress against our strategic priorities" and is "confident in our ability to deliver long-term shareholder value as an integrated food and beverage company.”

Peltz’s Trian Fund Management didn’t respond to a request for comment.

While PepsiCo declined to comment on rumors or speculation in March, the company reiterated that it has made progress on its long-term growth strategy and does not "see the need for any large scale M&A." 

Even though Peltz may be pushing for a deal, neither company’s boards would seem to be pressured by their respective stock prices.

PepsiCo rallied 1.45% to $85.51 on Wednesday, leaving it up 24.5% so far this year.

For its part, Mondelez jumped 2.13% to $30.50, extending its 2013 rally to 19.8%.

URL

http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2013/07/17/report-activist-investor-peltz-could-begin-publicly-prodding-pepsico/