Shares of PepsiCo, whose snack brands include Lays, Cheetos and
Doritos, rose as much as 2.3 percent on Thursday.
"Two leaner and more entrepreneurial companies" through the spin-off
would boost sales and margins in the snacks business, while the
drinks business would generate stable flow of cash that could be
returned to shareholders, Peltz said in a 37-page letter to
PepsiCo's board made public on Thursday.
Some investors and experts sided with Peltz, whose investment fund
has successfully advocated for break-ups and mergers at major food
companies, even as PepsiCo executives defended their position.
"The points that (Peltz) lays out ... are for the most part very
valid and compelling and he makes a very good case for the potential
split up of the businesses," said Kevin Dreyer, a portfolio manager
at Gabelli Funds LLC, which owns about 1.6 million shares of
Even if PepsiCo did not split up, Peltz's presence will keep
management under pressure to improve the business, Dreyer said.
PepsiCo, which also sells Gatorade and Tropicana juices, reported a
better-than-expected quarterly profit last week, helped by a 3
percent rise in snacks volumes. However, beverage volumes fell
sharply in North America.
At the time, PepsiCo shot down Peltz's proposal, with Chief
Executive Indra Nooyi saying a split up would hurt its ability to
negotiate with retail customers.
PepsiCo reiterated on Thursday that it had no plans to split up.
"Our focus is on delivering results for our shareholders, not new,
costly distractions that will harm shareholder interests," a PepsiCo
spokesman said in an email.
"We've looked at this from every single angle and we're absolutely
convinced this is the right decision for the company," Brian
Cornell, chief executive of PepsiCo Americas, said at the Consumer
Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton, Florida.
The interplay between the beverage and snacks business has opened
doors for PepsiCo, Cornell said.
Beverage "is a big and important category for retailers. It gives us
a very important seat at the table," Cornell said.
Additionally, he said, Pepsi's soft drink relationship with Taco
Bell <YUM.N> led to the Mexican fast-food chain's blockbuster
Doritos Locos Tacos launch in 2012 and has led to opportunities with
other restaurant chains.
"The beverage plus food model is a good one, an even superior one,
given the power it gives to manage retail," said Bevmark Consulting
Chief Executive Officer Tom Pirko.
But the model can be counterproductive if not well implemented,
"Those of us who advise and run numbers see a strong gravitational
pull, that Pepsi would at this time be better as two distinct
entities," he said.
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Peltz, who began his campaign to split up PepsiCo in July, said he
will begin meeting shareholders immediately to gather support for a
Peltz's investment firm, Trian Fund Management, owns about $1.2
billion of PepsiCo stock.
The billionaire investor has influenced food industry deals such as
the spin-off of Dr Pepper Snapple Group <DPS.N> from Cadbury,
Kraft's purchase of Cadbury and the subsequent breakup of Kraft into
Mondelez International <MDLZ.O> and Kraft Foods Group Inc <KRFT.O>.
Peltz also owns stakes and serves on the boards of The Wendy's Co <WEN.O>,
asset manager Legg Mason Inc <LM.N> and diversified U.S.
manufacturer Ingersoll-Rand PLC <IR.N>.
The investor had previously pushed PepsiCo to create a snack food
giant by acquiring Oreo cookie maker Mondelez but dropped the idea
after winning a seat on the Mondelez board last month.
Peltz said on Thursday PepsiCo continues to lose market share to
Coca-Cola in the Americas where it has been consistently
"out-innovated" and "outmaneuvered," which is putting increasing and
unnecessary pressure on the company's other divisions such as
PepsiCo, like rival Coca-Cola Co <KO.N>, has been battling declining
soda sales in developed markets, especially the United States, as
health-conscious consumers switch to non-carbonated beverages such
as juices and health drinks.
Peltz's letter to PepsiCo's board was first reported by the Wall
Street Journal on Wednesday.
Coca-Cola on Thursday announced that Chief Financial Officer Gary
Fayard would retire in May after serving the company for more than
Fayard will be replaced by Vice President and Controller Kathy
Waller, who joined Coke in 1987 from Deloitte.
PepsiCo shares were up 1.6 percent at $78.29 in afternoon trading on
the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Chris Peters in Bangalore
and Lisa Baertlein in Boca Raton; editing by Supriya Kurane, Ted
Kerr, Savio D'Souza and Cynthia Osterman)
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