Death To Soda: Nelson Peltz Joins Bill Ackman

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It’s already started. 13F season that is. We’re already getting a glimpse into what the major hedge funds are buying and selling.

The most notable activist fund so far is Trian Partners. Nelson Peltz’s fund doesn’t make many changes, but when he does, he usually makes a splash. It appears he’s joining Bill Ackman in the battle against sugary sodas.

Recall Ackman’s comments against soda, taking aim at Warren Buffett’s major investment, Coca-Cola. Ackman said that Coke’s philosophy is to displace the water children consumer with sugar water. He even called for a disclaimer on Coke about the harm it can cause, saying promoting sugar water to society is damaging.

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Peltz’s Trian Partners dumped all of its Pepsi stock. He had 15% of his fund in this stock and had been an owner since 2012. At one point he was pushing Pepsi to merge its foods business with Mondelez. That’s no longer the case. However, Peltz still owns his sizable Mondelez stake, where Bill Ackman is also a major holder. When asked about the Oreos that Mondelez makes versus Coke, Ackman said “It’s ok to have an Oreo cookie once in a while. It’s a treat.”

Everything else is the same for Trian – with GE still the fund’s largest holding (~20% of the fund), Sysco is its second largest holding, and Mondelez rounds out the top three. In terms of GE, it’s been a bright spot for Trian, especially as activist investors continue to swing and miss at mega-caps (read: Qualcomm has fallen 30% since Jana Partners revealed its stake).

Peltz put out a presentation when it first invested $2.5 billion in GE, saying that more cost cuts were needed and that the spinoff of its finance arm and a cut back on acquisitions was the path to success.

We’ll have the 1Q15 edition of the quarterly activist newsletter out next week. As promised, we raised prices to keep the list small. You can read more about what the quarterly newsletter is and sign up here.

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