Activist firm takes $600M stake in PepsiCo

Pepsi bottles line the self of a supermarket in Springfield, Ill., Tuesday, July 11, 2006. PepsiCo Inc., the No. 2 soft-drink maker, said second-quarter profit jumped 14 percent, helped by sales of non-carbonated beverages. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

(AP) NEW YORK - Activist investor Ralph Whitworth says his firm has taken a $600 million stake in PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), a move that could ramp up pressure on the company to make changes.

PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., has faced investor dissatisfaction in recent years over its underperforming stock price and slipping market share to Coca-Cola Co. That's led to ongoing speculation that CEO Indra Nooyi will step down and that the company will split its soda and snacks businesses.

Whitworth, the co-founder of the San Diego-based Relational Investors, said Tuesday that his firm purchased a 0.6 percent stake in the food and beverage giant. The holding is expected to be disclosed this week in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.