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Danone shares climb after takeover rumors, activist investor interest




Danone’s U.S.-listed shares rose nearly 7 percent on a report that Corvex Management now owns a stake of about $400 million and rumors surfaced of a possible takeover. Bloomberg reported that Keith Meister’s activist hedge fund has grown its stake in Danone because it thinks the company is greatly undervalued. The fund also reportedly thinks the company can rebound with improvements to operations, Bloomberg reported, though it does not currently plan to publicly advocate for management changes or launch a proxy battle. Stifel analyst Mark Swartzberg addressed the New York Post story Monday in a note to investors. He said Kraft Heinz could be a possible buyer but he rebuffed the idea that Coca-Cola would be interested in Danone. A more likely suitor, Stifel said, would be PepsiCo. “Not only because it evidently explored a purchase in 2005 until perceived resistance from France’s government became an obstacle, but also because (Coca-Cola) is squarely focused on beverages, while (PepsiCo) is a major in food, including the cold section of retail (e.g., Tropicana), and, in our opinion, recent (PepsiCo) manager comments and fundamentals make a transformative transaction more possible,” Swartzberg said.

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