PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC — Krupa Global Investments, one of the largest shareholders in Pittsburgh-based Kraft Heinz Co., on Dec. 27 said it opposes the company’s participation in the auction for the international business of Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J. Krupa said that if Kraft Heinz takes part in the auction, it plans to organize a proxy contest.
“This auction process may be great for Dan Loeb and Campbell Soup, but it does nothing for Kraft Heinz and its shareholders,” said Pavol Krupa, chairman of Krupa Global Investments, which owns approximately $100 million in Kraft Heinz shares. “Campbell Soup is selling its international assets for a reason. Thus we are concerned that these assets could be a drain on Kraft Heinz’s profitability and add to its debt. We strongly oppose Kraft Heinz’s participation in this auction and will organize a strong campaign against it if necessary.”
Mr. Krupa added that K.G.I. is concerned about the timing and transparency of the negotiation process.
“It is troubling that this negotiation process appears to be taking place during the holiday season when analysts, investors and members of the media are with their families and thus less likely to raise alarm bells about management's activities,” he said.
Instead of buying Campbell Soup’s international business — which includes the Arnott’s biscuits and crackers brand — K.G.I. has stated its desire for Kraft Heinz to pursue an $80-per-share buyout with Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. A buyout, according to K.G.I., would allow its investors to recover losses incurred since a 2015 initial public offering and would allow Mr. Buffet to realize long-term gains from the company’s investments.
“We urge Kraft Heinz management to start working for shareholders and to avoid making a deal that will make Dan Loeb and Campbell Soup richer while making ordinary Kraft Heinz shareholders poorer,” Mr. Krupa said. “We stand ready to work with management to create billions shareholder value by negotiating a fair priced buyout with Warren Buffett which will benefit all key stakeholders.”
In addition to Kraft Heinz, other potential suitors that have been mentioned as having interest in Campbell Soup’s international division include Mondelez International and Ferrero S.p.A.