Trian Fund Management Sells Its Stake in PepsiCo

Nelson Peltz the activist investor who operated Trian Fund Management LP has sold Trian’s stake in PepsiCo three years after attempting an unsuccessful effort to break apart the snack and beverage behemoth.

Peltz is the CEO at Trian and he and the company were rebuffed on a number of occasions, but PepsiCo stock has increased sharply over the period of three years since it was disclosed Trian owned a stake.

At 2015 yearend, Trian owned a stake of 1.3% in PepsiCo, which was worth close to $2 billion.

The sale brings to an end a high-profile battle between PepsiCo’s board and the activist investor and validates the decision by PepsiCo to stick by the strategy it had in place despite pressure from the investor.

The results at the company have improved due in part from cost cutting and Trian ended its call to split the company.

Stock at PepsiCo has had a 49% return since the day prior to Trian’s position being reported back in March of 2013, besting the 43% by the S&P 500 index and a 24% return by rival Coca-Cola.

Trian is under the belief that PepsiCo has addressed a number of issues operationally identified by Trian, as management increased effort in productivity, lowered overhead, increased its investment in advertising and delivered earnings growth that was consistent on the basis of constant currency, said the firm in a prepared statement.

PepsiCo declined to make any comment on Trian’s statement released on Friday.

Filings with regulatory agencies show that Trian earned a profit of over $500 million on its investment. It started buying shares of PepsiCo during late 2012, when the share price was at close to $70 and it closed Friday at $104.19.

Trian unveiled stakes in 2013 in PepsiCo as well as Oreo cookies maker Mondelez International and started pushing management at PepsiCo to enter into a merger with Mondelez then spin off the beverage business.

The activist investor argued that Pepsi’s beverage business, whose brands range from Gatorade to Mountain Dew, was dragging the more profitable as well as quicker growing snack business down.

Indra Nooyi the CEO at PepsiCo never wavered during public defense of the structure of the company. PepsiCo said back in February of 2014 that it would not split after concluding an exhaustive review.

The beverage and snack company instead extended its program of cost cutting, promising it would deliver annual gains in productivity of $1 billion through 2019 via automating plants amongst other steps.