PepsiCo Split Still a Possibility?

Some board members rumored to want to look at breakup of snack, beverage units

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Some members of PepsiCo Inc.'s board want to take a closer look at splitting up the snack and beverage units, a move that its chief executive officer Indra Nooyi is against, the New York Post reported, citing a source close to the situation.

"I hear there is going to be a shakeup," the source said, according to the newspaper report.

Another source quoted by the paper said CEO Indra Nooyi is close to announcing two big acquisitions, which are believed to be international, and which could be big and interesting enough to boost the company's stock.

The report comes days after activist investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund said it had taken a 2.36 million-share stake in PepsiCo, where Nooyi is under pressure from many on Wall Street to split up the company or make other big changes.

Since then, the shares have been rising. They were up another 3.1% at $66.49 in morning trading on Wednesday.

PepsiCo management said in October that it had considered breaking up the company, but did not find that to be in the best interests of shareholders.

Then, last week, PepsiCo said its board and management would extend their review of ongoing business plans for 2012 and beyond, raising hopes of more drastic measures to reignite its sagging performance.

A PepsiCo spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The newspaper reported that another source close to the situation said that PepsiCo "might still split, despite Indra saying they will not do so."

The Post also reported that an investment banker told dealReporter that one breakup scenario would involve Nooyi running PepsiCo's international business while "internal candidates" run the U.S. beverage and snack part of the business.

Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo, with net revenues of approximately $60 billion, offers a global portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales each. Its main businesses--Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi Cola--also make hundreds of other foods and beverages.