Blog: The overhaul at Cadbury
Dean Best | 19 June 2007
Investor activism got a shot in the arm in London today (19 June) when Cadbury Schweppes unveiled plans to overhaul its confectionery business.
Cadbury, led by CEO Todd Stitzer, was at pains to insist that the company’s moves – which involve the loss of around 7,800 jobs, the closure of a number of manufacturing sites and a greater focus on its core brands – were not a reaction to pressure from unhappy shareholders.
Stitzer insisted the plans were two years’ in the making. He maintained the company hadn’t kowtowed to investors who believed Cadbury’s confectionery business was under-performing and who wanted to split it from the UK group’s drinks business across the Atlantic.
Nevertheless, no matter how much Cadbury insists these plans had been drawn up over many months, the fact remains that it first announced its intentions almost immediately after activist investor Nelson Peltz began amassing a stake in the company.
Whether or not Peltz had any direct influence in Cadbury’s decisions, it seems his stake-building was the catalyst for the company to get down to work.
And tomorrow another household name in the UK, retail giant Sainsbury’s, could face questions over recent moves by a Qatari investment group to take a 25% stake in the company.
Speculation has grown that Sainsbury’s could face renewed pressure to sell off parts of its valuable property portfolio. The Qatari group has links to property tycoon and Sainsbury’s investor Robert Tchenguiz, who is known to advocate selling off the property to boost shareholder returns.
Sainsbury’s would no doubt have noted the Cadbury announcement today with great interest.
Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...
Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....
Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....
FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....
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