Nestlé Shares Soar after Third Point Reveals Stake
American hedge fund Third Point has
unveiled a $3.5 billion stake in Nestlé and urged the world’s largest
food company to buy back stock.
The fund, led by activist investor Dan
Loeb, has taken an investment position of around 1.3 per cent of Nestlé
and it said productive conversations are already underway.
Nestlé shares surged by 4.7 per cent in the United States stock market
to an all–time high as investors responded favourably to the
Third Point is proposing to set Nestlé a
profit margin target of between 18per cent and 20 per cent by 2020,
offload its non–core range, sell its stake in cosmetics maker L’Oréal
and increase leverage for share buybacks.
The announcement marks the largest single investment by Dan Loeb and Third Point since it was founded in 1995.
A statement culled from Food Bev media website said,: “Despite having
arguably the best positioned portfolio in the consumer packaged goods
Nestlé shares have significantly
underperformed most of their US and European consumer staples peers on a
three year, five year, and 10 year total shareholder return basis.
“One year returns have been driven largely by the market’s anticipation
that with a newly–appointed CEO, Nestlé will improve,” the statement
It continued: “Third Point invested in
Nestlé because we recognised a familiar set of conditions that make it
ripe for improvement and change: a conglomerate with unrealised
potential for margin improvement and innovation in its core businesses,
an unoptimised balance sheet, a number of non–core assets, and a recent
history of meaningful under–performance versus peers. It is rare to find
a business of Nestlé’s quality with so many avenues for improvement,”
Mark Schneider, who took charge of
Nestlé in January and is the first CEO from outside the company in
nearly a century, has been attempting to reignite growth after 2016
sales growth fell to the slowest rate in a decade.
The Swiss–based company announced
earlier this month that it may put its US confectionery business up for
sale, which includes brands such as Butterfinger and BabyRuth and
generated $924 million in sales last year.
Last week Nestlé revealed it is a lead investor in the $77 million round
of funding in US prepared meal provider freshly, reflecting its
ambition to keep up with changing consumer trends by focusing on healthy