Nelson Peltz‘s Trian Partners has recently reported increasing its activist stakes in two companies: Bank of New York Mellon Corp (NYSE:BK) and Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ). In a new Form 4 filing, Trian disclosed the acquisition of 784,800 shares of Bank of New York Mellon at an average weighted price of $39.78 per unit; following the increase, the stake amasses close to 29.96 million shares of the company. In Mondelez, the fund bought 270,900 shares at $36.94 per share, which raised the stake to 47.48 million shares. In both companies, Trian has representatives on the board of directors, with Mr. Peltz serving on Mondelez’s board and Edward Garden acting as a board director at Bank of New York Mellon.
Mr. Peltz holds a relatively concentrated portfolio that contain stakes in 11 companies with a total value of $9.43 billion. The top five picks amass over 75% of the total portfolio value and the fund has its representatives on the board of directors in three of those five companies: Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ), Bank of New York Mellon Corp (NYSE:BK), and Ingersoll-Rand PLC (NYSE:IR), while in the other two companies, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (NYSE: DD) and PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP), the investor holds activist positions. Moreover, in January Trian and PepsiCo reached an agreement under the terms of which the company will appoint William R. Johnson, the former CEO of H.J. Heinz and an adviser of Trian, as an independent director. The move comes after a two-year long battle during which Mr. Peltz has been mainly arguing that PepsiCo should spin-off its beverages segment from its snacks segment, the latter being considered more profitable. On the other hand, Mr. Peltz’s fight with DuPont is only just beginning, as the investor has recently announced his intention to appoint four directors to the board, including himself.
In Bank of New York Mellon, Trian initiated a 2.3% stake during the second quarter of 2014, sparking a lot of talks regarding a potential spin-off of the bank’s management business. However, instead, the investor has been pushing for cost cutting and other measures. Mr. Peltz’s move into Bank of New York is unusual, since big activists like Carl Icahn prefer to keep their distance from financial companies, especially since the financial crisis in 2008. In December, Trian and Bank of New York Mellon Corp (NYSE:BK) struck a deal to appoint the fund’s co-founder (and Peltz’s son-in-law) Edward Garden as the 14th director to the board.
In addition to Trian, among the shareholders of Bank of New York Mellon Corp (NYSE:BK) are 50 other funds from our database, including eight funds managed by billionaires. Warren Buffett, Andreas Halvorsen, Mason Hawkins and Mario Gabelli are only a few of the billionaires that own long positions in Bank of New York. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway was one of the largest shareholders among funds that we track, holding 22.01 million shares of the company as of the end of 2014.
Mr. Peltz was been appointed to the board of Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ) around a year ago, but before that the investor had been pushing for a merger between Mondelez and PepsiCo. The investor’s plan, which seemed to be well-received by other shareholders, involved a merger between the two companies followed by a spin-off of PepsiCo’s beverages segment. The deal would’ve created one of the largest snacks companies in the world, if not the largest. However, since he has been appointed to the board of Mondelez, Mr. Peltz seems to have abandoned his plans.
Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ) is the most popular consumer defensive stock among billionaires, being included in the equity portfolios of 12 billionaires’ funds. Other billionaire investors that are fond of Mondelez include Mason Hawkins of Southeastern Asset Management, who owns some 26.74 million shares, and Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies, who nearly doubled his position in Mondelez to 5.62 million shares during the fourth quarter.
Mondelez International Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ) and PepsiCo have both been the two largest holdings in Trian’s 13F portfolio for more than a year, until the last quarter of 2014. However, it now seems that Mr. Peltz will focus the majority of his attention on DuPont, in which he raised his stake by 250% to 24.31 million shares, the position accounting for almost 20% of Trian’s equity portfolio.