Peltz’s Trian Returns to Kraft Foods With $420 Million Stake

Nelson Peltz’s hedge fund bought a $420 million stake in Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT), reviving his interest in a company he had pushed for change in 2007.

Trian Fund Management LP, Peltz’s New York-based activist fund, held 12.2 million Kraft Class A shares as of March 31, according to an amended Form 13F released today by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing shows that Peltz’s application to keep the Kraft stake confidential, submitted to the SEC last month, expired on June 17.

Peltz is an activist investor who takes stakes in companies, particularly those in the food and restaurant businesses, and then frequently pushes for changes designed to boost their share prices. His previous activist investments include Kraft, ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co. and luxury retailer Tiffany & Co.

In November 2007, Kraft agreed to add two board members backed by Peltz after he promised not to seek control of the Northfield, Illinois, company. At the time, Peltz held options to purchase 37.3 million Kraft shares, the equivalent of a 2.4 percent stake. Trian reported in August that its funds had divested all of their remaining Kraft shares during the second quarter of 2010.

In April, Peltz said that changes in corporate governance would enhance his ability to make activist investments in “untouchables,” his term for companies with market capitalizations of $50 billion or more. Speaking before the Council of Institutional Investors in Washington, Peltz also said that larger companies may provide bigger profit opportunities for activism.

Additional Firepower

Kraft currently has a market value of about $60.6 billion. The shares have increased more than 9 percent so far this year.

New York-based Trian Fund Management LP, which oversaw $2.96 billion in assets as of March 1, received some additional firepower earlier this year, according to its latest investment adviser registration. The firm received contractual commitments as of April 1 for another $447 million of capital, net of anticipated redemptions, the registration statement said.

Trian’s largest equity holding at the end of March was a $406 million stake in Legg Mason Inc., the Baltimore-based money management company, according to the original Form 13F that Trian filed with the SEC on May 16. Managers who oversee more than $100 million in equities must file a Form 13F within 45 days of each quarter’s end to list their U.S.-traded stocks, options and convertible bonds.

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