Peltz on PepsiCo: ‘There will be action’

by Keith Nunes
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NEW YORK — Nelson Peltz, a founding partner in the investment firm Trian Fund Management, which owns approximately $1.2 billion worth of PepsiCo, Inc. common stock, is not done trying to break up the company. Speaking at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha conference on July 16, Mr. Peltz said his group has not disappeared from the scene and there is more to come.

“Over the last five or six months we’ve met with about 100 of the top shareholders of Pepsi,” Mr. Peltz said. “The stock has moved up dramatically. It hasn’t moved up because of earnings. It had a big reset a couple years ago and hasn’t even gotten through the guidance they gave in ’12.

“The company is not being managed well, and the stock has moved from the $60s, where we first got in, to about $90 today, and that’s not because of earnings. It’s because of the fact that our message is resonating with the shareholders of Pepsi, and I urge you to watch this space, and you’ll see what happens.”

Trian has recommended PepsiCo separate its global snacks and beverages businesses into two independent public companies in order to unlock value. PepsiCo rejected Trian’s recommendation, noting that a spin-off would result in a loss of synergies between snacks and beverages in North America and between North American beverages and international beverage operations. A separation also would decrease the company’s relevance to U.S. retailers and jeopardize growth in food service, according to the company.

Mr. Peltz said he has not spoken to Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo, since February, and that he gets “the Heisman” every time Trian has asked her to give information to shareholders.

“… Simple things like what’s the R.O.I.C. (return on invested capital) on the $21 billion she spent of shareholders’ money to buy the bottlers?” he said. “The bottlers today are in disarray. She spent $21 billion of our money with a negative return.”

Mr. Peltz added that Ms. Nooyi and Ian Cook, PepsiCo’s lead director, have listened to Trian’s proposals, but “are stuck in their ways.”

“The shareholders own the company, and the reason the stock is at $90 today, it is not because of earnings,” Mr. Peltz said. “It’s not because they’re taking market share in North America in the soft drink business. It is not because of that. It’s not because they’re doing better than Coke. It’s not because they’re coming out with new products in the snack area. It’s because we’re there, and shareholders are starting to agree with what we’re suggesting this company do.”

When pressed if Trian would pursue a proxy contest for control of PepsiCo, Mr. Peltz said “it’s a possibility.”
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