Published: 30/01/2014
Nelson Peltz, the US billionaire and activist investor, will halt his campaign to merge PepsiCo with Mondelez International after the Cadbury chocolate producer lined him up for a seat on its board. The move should come as a relief to PepsiCo’s management, which had been forced to counter Peltz’s backing of a PepsiCo buyout of US-based Mondelez. Peltz also wanted PepsiCo to split its drinks operations from its more profitable snacks units in the wake of a merger.

Peltz holds stakes in both PepsiCo and Mondelez through his investment vehicle, Trian Fund Management.

In a statement on 21 January, Trian said that now Peltz is to become a director of Mondelez International, he will “recuse”  himself from discussions over PepsiCo.

However, Trian also said the US billionaire was no longer pushing for “Plan A” – a merger – but would focus instead on “Plan B”, for PepsiCo to split in two.

“Given that PepsiCo is not interested in pursuing Plan A, we are encouraging them to pursue Plan B,” a spokesperson for Trian told.

Trian said last year PepsiCo should divide its faster-growing snacks business from its slower-growth beverage arm so the two can perform more effectively and provide more value to shareholders.

It argued a stand-alone snacks company would be “positioned to deliver attractive growth and productivity initiatives that hit the bottom-line”.

The beverage business, Peltz has argued, would “create a beverages leader that can combine an efficient capital structure, high dividend and operational improvements to unlock value”.

So far, PepsiCo has resisted Peltz’s calls for a combination with Mondelez and for it to split in two.

In an interview this month with CNBC, PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi said: “These two categories are better together, not just in the United States, but around the world.”

Peltz revealed that he is being put forward for election to Mondelez’s board.

Irene Rosenfeld, Mondelez’s chairman and CEO, said Peltz would be “a valuable addition”.

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