PepsiCo had been under pressure to split its drinks and snacks units

PepsiCo had been under pressure to split its drinks and snacks units

PepsiCo's latest board appointment suggests the company is now more willing to listen to takeover offers, an analysts has claimed.

Late last week, the company elected Bill Johnson, a former CEO of Heinz, to its board effective 23 March. Johnson is currently an advisor to activist investor Nelson Peltz. 

Johnson was in charge of Heinz when the company was sold to 3G, a Brazil-based investment firm recently linked to a takeover of the Coca-Cola Co, and in a note on Friday, Bernstein's Ali Dibadj said his appointment pointed “to a more open stance by PepsiCo to entertain M&A”.

Dibadj said Johnson's “close relationship” with 3G could help engineer a move for PepsiCo by the investment firm, possibly in combination with Anheuser-Busch InBev or Mondelez International.

“At the very least, we laud both Peltz and PepsiCo for agreeing to add a useful outside perspective to the board without undue acrimony,” Dibadj added.

Peltz, who owns investment fund Trian Fund Management, had put pressure on PepsiCo to split off its fast-growing snacks business from its beverage unit. However, jointly announcing Johnson's appointment on Friday, the two sides appeared to call a truce.

PepsiCo's CEO, Indra Nooyi, said: “We have had constructive discussions with Trian for nearly two years. They have provided valuable input to many aspects of our business, and the recommendation of Bill as an independent director to the board.”

Peltz said: “We support Indra's commitment to operational excellence, which has resulted in improved performance of the company. We are confident that Bill will be a strong and complementary addition to the PepsiCo board.”