We found out on Monday that Nelson Peltz’s investment firm Trian has a roughly 5.1 per cent chunk of Lazard.
Peltz doesn’t dominate the headlines like certain other activist investors, preferring to pick his spots and eschewing diversification in Trian’s portfolio. But he’s known for getting involved in his companies and has had some influence on the other two big financial services companies in which Trian has large stakes, State Street and Legg Mason. Read more
Nelson Peltz, the activist investor, has renewed his interest in Kraft Foods, the FT reports, taking a $420m stake in the company nearly a year after selling off his shares. Mr Peltz acquired 12.2m shares of Kraft through his Trian Fund Management, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission released late on Monday. Although the stake represents a small share of Kraft, which has a market capitalisation of more than $60bn, it marks a return by Mr Peltz to the company he tried to shake up in 2007.
Trian, the investment group headed by Nelson Peltz, has made an offer to acquire Family Dollar, the US neighbourhood discount store chain, valuing the retailer at up to $7bn, reports the FT. News of the cash offer of $55 to $60 per share sent Family Dollar’s shares soaring nearly 26% to $55.35 in New York after-hours trading. In a filing, Trian said it had contacted Howard Levine, chairman and CEO of Family Dollar, on Tuesday and advised him that it beneficially controlled 8% of the retailer’s shares, which it believed made it the company’s largest shareholder. Trian said it had offered Levine the “opportunity to participate as an investor” in the buy out, but that any decision on the offer should lie with Family Dollar’s shareholders. The WSJ says Peltz’s offer is not only big but by disclosing it in a filing, he has put pressure on Levine and his board.
US activist investor Nelson Peltz is set to grab a seat on the board of Legg Mason after accumulating a significant stake in one of the biggest US mutual fund companies, reports the WSJ. Legg Mason is expected to name Peltz a director on Monday, after the billionaire investor acquired a 4.3% stake in the firm and pushed for a board seat. In exchange for the board seat, Peltz’s Trian Fund Management has agreed a “standstill” pact, pledging to accumulate no more than 9.9% of Legg Mason stock for the next two years.
A wild card is set to be thrown into the battle by Kraft to acquire UK confectionery group Cadbury with the expiry on Friday of an agreement by activist shareholder Nelson Peltz to refrain from publicly criticising the US food group. Peltz’s Trian fund management company – which holds stakes in Kraft and Cadbury – had struck a two-year “standstill” agreement with the US group in November 2007 not to criticise its corporate strategy or management.
Shares in Cadbury are trading through the terms of Kraft’s hostile approach on Monday morning, as the market bets on an increased offer or a counter bid.
Kraft is offering 745p in a mixture of cash and stock for Cadbury, which is currently trading 205p, or 36 per cent, higher at 774p. Read more
Wendy’s, the third largest US burger chain, on Thursday said it had agreed to a takeover by billionaire investor Nelson Peltz’s Triarc in an all-stock deal worth $2.34bn. The deal comes less than a week after Peltz’s Trian Partners said it would seek a special meeting of Wendy’s shareholders, after management rebuffed two previous separate takeover offers. The deal would add the fast food outlet to Triarc’s Arby’s roast-beef sandwich chain. Triarc is offering 4.25 shares of its own Class A stock for every share of Wendy’s stock, a premium of 5.7% to Wendy’s shares, which closed at $25.32 on Wednesday.
Activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners has taken a small stake in Marsh & McLennan, the giant insurance broker, which late last year announced it was seeking a new chief executive, reports the Wall Street Journal. Trian’s involvement is another sign of the ferment surrounding Marsh & McLennan which has been struggling to recover from a 2004 investigation led by then New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer. Marsh’s share price dropped 14% last year. The firm announced in December it was seeking a replacement for CEO Michael Cherkasky, who took over after the probe became public. That came about two months after the ouster of the executive Cherkasky had hired to run Marsh Inc, the company’s core insurance brokerage. Last year, the firm also sold its Putnam Investments money-management unit.
Cadbury Schweppes was confronted on Tuesday with aggressive new demands to raise its financial performance, from a hedge fund led by US activist investor Nelson Peltz. Trian Fund Management, the investment vehicle run by Mr Peltz that holds a 4.5% stake in Cadbury, sent the board of the confectioner a blunt letter urging it to raise its profit margin targets. The letter warned that if Cadbury failed to achieve “meaningful” progress on margins next year, Trian would become “significantly more active” as a shareholder. It said Cadbury’s confectionery and beverage businesses, which it plans to demerge, could become takeover targets if Trian’s demands were not met. Trian confirmed it had raised its stake in Cadbury to 4.5% after teaming up with the Qatar Investment Authority, making it the company’s third biggest shareholder. For FT Alphaville’s take on the letter, and full text, click here.
Nelson Peltz, the US activist investor, has teamed up with the Qatar Investment Authority to increase his stake in Cadbury Schweppes. Trian, Mr Peltz’s investment vehicle, recently formed a special-purpose vehicle with QIA, which it has used to buy derivatives contracts to lift its exposure to the UK drinks and confectionery group. This has boosted Trian’s economic interest in the group from 3.4% to slightly below 5%, say people familiar with the matter. The move was made after Cadbury shares tumbled in the summer, when the credit squeeze overturned expectations of a lucrative sale to private equity buyers of the company’s North American drinks business. Trian and QIA may not stop at 5%, using the SPV to raise their stake, according to the sources.
Nelson Peltz, the US activist investor, on Thursday night filed with US regulators to raise up to $750m from stock market investors for a large shell company that will pursue acquisitions. Trian Acquisition I Corporation will have until late 2009 to identify an acquisition target and take control of it using at least 80 per cent of its assets. Trian Acquisition I plans to sell 75m units in itself for $10 each. The prospectus for the special purpose acquisition company says no industry has yet been identified for the acquisition and there is no deal in mind.
Nelson Peltz, the US activist investor, on Tuesday emerged as a potential buyer of Wendy’s International, the third largest US hamburger chain, which recently put itself up for sale. In a letter to James Pickett, Wendy’s chairman, Mr Peltz claimed Triarc, owner of the Arby’s sandwich chain that he has controlled for more than a decade, was a “natural strategic buyer for the company”. However, Mr Peltz, who owns a 9.8 per stake in Wendy’s through Trian, his activist investment fund, expressed concern about being shut out of the auction.
Kraft is understood to be in talks to buy the biscuit and cereal products division of France’s Danone, owner of the LU, Prince and Tuc biscuit brands. A deal would allow Kraft — under pressure from the activist investor Nelson Peltz — to cement its position as the world’s number one biscuit maker by massively increasing its presence in Europe. Danone had sometimes been seen as a potential takeover target for Kraft. Selling just its slow-growing biscuits arm to its US rival would allow the French group to focus on its more dynamic drinks and dairy divisions.
Cadbury Schweppes said Nelson Peltz, the US activist investor, had increased his stake in the company from 2.98 per cent to 3.47 per cent. Mr Peltz, one of Cadbury’s largest shareholders, initially took a stake in March, putting pressure on Cadbury to accelerate a planned split of its confectionery and beverages businesses. Mr Peltz also recently became a shareholder in Kraft, taking a 3 per cent stake earlier this month.
Nelson Peltz, the US activist investor, has taken a 3 per cent stake, worth about $1.7bn, in Kraft, and will put pressure on the US food company to buy back shares and consider the sale of brands including Maxwell House coffee and Post cereals. People close to the matter said Mr Peltz had not yet held talks with management at Kraft, which was spun off from Altria, its former parent company, earlier this year. However, it was likely that contact would be made shortly, they said. Kraft shares closed up 6.6 per cent in New York at $36.74.
Anthony Bolton, the Fidelity fund manager who has led some high-profile investor battles with managements in recent years, has attacked the decision of Cadbury Schweppes to split its main operations after pressure from Trian, a US hedge fund co-founded by activist investor Nelson Peltz, which bought almost 3 per cent of the UK company. The events at Cadbury could “represent a come-on to every corporate raider or activist investor”, he writes in Monday’s FT. It suggests that such activists “need to buy only a very small stake to be the catalyst for a significant change of strategy”, he notes.
Wendy’s International, the third-largest US hamburger chain, said it was considering a sale in the wake of protracted pressure from investors including Nelson Peltz. Wendy’s said on Wednesday it had formed a board committee, led by James Pickett, chairman, to consider options including a sale, merger or change in strategy. Mr Peltz and former shareholder William Ackman have urged the chain to boost its stock price. A sale of Wendy’s could be worth as much as $4bn, provided the company is able to extract a significant premium to its current market value of $3.1bn.
Cadbury Schweppes’s future as an independent company hung in doubt on Thursday with industry analysts and investors agreeing it would become a takeover target once it split off its beverages business. Speculation about a possible takeover of Cadbury has been a topic of debate in the markets over the past year, with its beverages arm seen as something of a poison pill for a trade buyer. But now that Cadbury’s confectionery business stands alone, and Cadbury’s market capitalisation will be reduced, analysts expect bidders to start lining up. Lex says the logic of Cadbury’s decision to separate its US beverages operation from its confectionery unit is not compelling, coming, as it does, just after the announcement that activist investor Nelson Peltz had taken a 3 per cent stake. Splitting Cadbury is justifiable but breaking up well-managed, reasonably valued companies should not be expected to produce huge returns, whoever owns the stock
Nelson Peltz has clearly had a galvanising effect on Cadbury Schweppes. The drinks and sweets group, where the activist American investor has taken a near-3 per cent stake, confirmed on Thursday that it plans to split itself in two.
The market’s response was unequivocal: after a five minute delay to trading in London, shares in Cadbury surged 40p or 6.7 per cent to 642p. Since news of Mr Peltz’s stakebuilding became public the price has jumped by almost 20 per cent. Read more
This promises to be fun — for everyone but the board of Cadbury Schweppes. Nelson Peltz, the American corporate raider, has built a 3 per cent stake in the British drinks and sweets combine, according to a statement issued by the company on Tuesday.
The news was triggered by a sharp rise in Cadbury stock, which surged four per cent late morning in London. Trading, in turn, was driven by a report from the FT’s markets team highlighting rumours that Mr Peltz had appeared on the Cadbury share register. Read more