PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC — Krupa Global Investments (K.G.I.) on Nov. 5 iterated its call for an $80-per-share buyout of The Kraft Heinz Co. after the Pittsburgh-based company posted softer third-quarter earnings. K.G.I. owns approximately $100 million in Kraft Heinz stock.
Kraft Heinz on Nov. 1 reported net income in the third quarter ended Sept. 29 was $630 million, equal to 52c per share on the common stock, down 33% from $944 million, or 78c per share, in the prior-year period. The decline was attributed to non-cash impairment charges and higher costs, which partially were offset by lower taxes.
Following the release of the financials Kraft Heinz shares sank more than 10% on Nov. 2 to close at $50.73. By the close of markets on Nov. 5 the company’s stock had rebounded a little to $52.34 per share, still well off the company’s 52-week high of $82.48 set on Dec. 5, 2017.
Krupa Global Investments said the sharp stock price decline vindicates its contention made in September that many of the investments that are necessary for Kraft Heinz to be successful long term are not reconcilable with public stockholder pressures.
“This is a critical time for the food industry where all food companies must make key investments to gain market share and create innovative, high-margin products,” said Pavol Krupa, chairman of K.G.I. “These investments will be expensive and will not typically pay short-term dividends. Thus, we fear the company’s market cap will continue to take hits while public shareholders lose their savings, retirement funds and college funds. Thus, we see a mutual win in a fair priced buyout of public shareholders at $80 per share. This transaction would benefit all involved. Mr. Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway and Mr. Lemann of 3G Capital are long-term thinkers who can guide Kraft Heinz through its short- and medium-term challenges to long-term success.
“This is a critical time for the food industry where all food companies must make key investments to gain market share and create innovative, high-margin products.” — Pavol Krupa, K.G.I.
“Meanwhile, public investors would be able to recuperate their significant losses on what most believed was a safe dividend stock. We look forward to presenting our point of view in upcoming meetings with all relevant stakeholders. We strongly believe we can build a consensus in this matter and through it save the iconic Kraft Heinz Co.”
In his Nov. 5 letter Mr. Krupa said K.G.I. “strongly disagrees” with the concern that Kraft Heinz will not be able to make large acquisitions as a private company.
“If management finds a compelling large-scale target, we believe that 3G Capital and Warren Buffett will be able to raise sufficient capital for any acquisition in the food or consumer goods space without public investors,” he said.
Investors in major food and beverage companies have become more vocal in recent years in voicing dissatisfaction with perceived poor performance. Third Point L.L.C., a New York-based investment firm that owns about 6% of Campbell Soup Co.’s stock, has been involved in an ongoing war of words as it looks to replace the Camden, N.J.-based company’s board of directors. Also this fall, Daniel S. Loeb, a hedge fund manager with Third Point, accused Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle S.A. of operating with a “muddled strategic approach.”