Activist investor discloses stakes in PepsiCo, Mondelez

NEW YORK - JANUARY 11: Financier Nelson Peltz speaks at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Honors Award to Rupert Murdoch at The Waldorf Astoria on January 11, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Evan Agostini

NEW YORK Activist investor Nelson Peltz has disclosed stakes in Mondelez (MDLZ) and PepsiCo (PEP), following earlier reports that the billionaire could be pushing for a marriage between the sweet and salty snack giants.

In a statement early Friday, PepsiCo said that it has held meetings with Peltz's Trian Fund Management in recent weeks to consider its "ideas and initiatives" for long-term growth. A spokesman for Mondelez wasn't immediately available say whether the company has met with Trian as well.

A representative for Trian declined to comment.

Peltz's disclosures come at a sensitive time for the two U.S. food and drink makers. Mondelez, which makes Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolates, has stumbled in its first quarters as an independent company after splitting from Kraft Foods. But in a short statement, the company noted that it has "created significant value through our transformation."

PepsiCo, which makes Frito-Lay, Tropicana and Quaker Oats, is reviewing restructuring options for its underperforming North American beverage business, including a possible spinoff. If that were to happen, analysts have speculated that PepsiCo would want to buy another snack food maker to remain as big as it is today.

It could be that Peltz has no intentions to agitate for a merger. But the New York native is known for building stakes in companies then forcing change. In 2008, for example, he led a group of investors in pressuring Cadbury Schweppes to split its candy and its weaker beverage business, which later became Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday, Trian said it held a $494.2 million stake in Mondelez and a $269.1 million stake in PepsiCo as of Dec. 31.

Meanwhile, Mondelez International Inc. and PepsiCo Inc. have each undergone radical restructuring under their CEOs in recent years and are under pressure to deliver improved results.