Trian Partners, Nelson Peltz’s activist hedge fund, has built a stake in Unilever, ratcheting up the pressure on the consumer goods maker, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The $8.5 billion New York-based hedge fund has taken a position in the British group’s shares, the FT report said, adding that the people with knowledge of the stake building had not provided provide details on its size.
Trian and Unilever both declined to comment.
The strategy of Unilever — maker of brands such as Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise — has come under the investor microscope after the group this month effectively abandoned its 50 billion pound ($68 billion) pursuit of GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health-care business.
Some analysts have said the proposed mega-deal, which would have been one of the largest ever on the London market, had been unexpected and raised questions about Unilever’s plan under Chief Executive Alan Jope for a more gradual shift away from lower-margin goods to health, beauty and hygiene products.