Third Point demands 'bold action plan' at Nestle after buying £2.7bn chunk
One of America's most high profile investors has taken a 3.5 billion US dollars (£2.74 billion) chunk out of Kit Kat owner Nestle as he calls for a shake-up of the firm.
Dan Loeb's Third Point hedge fund said over the weekend it now holds 40 million Nestle shares, amounting to 1.3% of the group.
It will now petition for chief executive Mark Schneider to implement a "bold action plan".
In a letter to Nestle's board, Third Point said: "We feel strongly that in order to succeed, Dr Schneider will need to articulate a decisive and bold action plan that addresses the staid culture and tendency towards incrementalism that has typified the company's prior leadership and resulted in its long-term under-performance."
Among its demands the fund wants Nestle, which is also behind Cheerios and Nescafe, to offload its 23% holding in cosmetics giant L'Oreal and to adopt formal profit targets.
The news sent Nestle shares to a record high after they rose more than 4% in Zurich to 85.8 Swiss francs (£69).
"We believe our recommendations to Nestle management, if taken together, would dramatically improve both the growth profile and earnings power of the company," Third Point added.
Mr Schneider was drafted in earlier this year and is embarking on an overhaul aimed at boosting sales and profits.
Nestle's British corporate headquarters are located near Gatwick, and the firm has a global research centre in York.
It has factories in Carlisle, Newcastle, Halifax, Girvan and Tutbury, as well as York, while its pet care sites include operations in Liverpool, Wisbech and Sudbury.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "Whether management and staff at any of these sites, or the Gatwick HQ, are affected by Third Point's call for greater efficiency and asset sales remains to be seen and will again initially depend on how Nestle's board in Vevey, near Geneva, responds to Third Point's list of proposals."