The case for smaller portions
Should Pepsi break up?
“IFIRMLY believe that Pepsico’s value is maximised as one company,” said IndraNooyi, the boss of PepsiCo, during the announcement of the company’sthird-quarter results on October 12th. What followed was an impassioned pleafor the “Power of One”. That is how Pepsi describes its clout with suppliers,retailers and customers, thanks to its ability to market and distribute severalof its brands together.
百事公司老板Indra Nooyi 在10月12日发布公司第三季度业绩报告时说：“我坚信百事公司作为一个整体的价值是最大化的。”随后，她为“整体的力量”做了热情洋溢的辩护。百事公司以这种方式向供应商、零售商和消费者描述了其影响力，这是由于它有能力将其旗下的诸多品牌共同销售及分销。
Fuelledby growth in emerging markets, Pepsi’s results were better than expected. Netrevenue increased by 9%, excluding the impact of the company’s recent takeoverof Wimm-Bill-Dann, a Russian food firm. Pepsi’s operating profit was up by 4%compared with the same period last year.
Yetperhaps Ms Nooyi protests too much. She has been under fire from investors whosay that, in her quest to transform Pepsi into a maker of healthier wares, shehas taken her eyes off its core business of pushing tasty stuff that’s bad foryou. Its drinks business has lost market share and is dragging down the valueof its snacks operation. The carpers suggest a solution: Pepsi should splitinto two smaller portions, a drinks firm and a snack peddler. That way,Frito-Lay (Doritos, Tostitos and Walkers) would no longer subsidise Pepsi,Gatorade (a sports drink) and Tropicana (a maker of fruit juice).
然而，Nooyi女士的辩护也许太过激烈。在她寻求将百事转变成为一个健康饮品制造商的过程中，她已饱受投资者们的批评。投资者们抱怨她不再关注公司的核心业务，那就是推出可口的但不利于健康的食物或饮品。百事公司饮料业务的市场份额已经减少，同时还拖累了其快餐食品业务的价值。一些吹毛求疵的批评家给出了一个可行之道: 百事应该拆分为两个小公司，一家饮料公司和一家食品小商贩。那样，Frito-Lay (Doritos, Tostitos and Walkers)就不会再拖累百事，嘉德乐（一种运动饮料）和Tropicana (一家果汁饮料制造商).
In herformer role as Pepsi’s chief strategist, Ms Nooyi set the company on ahealthier course even before becoming its boss, by engineering the takeovers ofTropicana and Quaker Oats, which makes breakfast cereals. She is now makingPepsi’s fizzy drinks less sugary and its snacks as much as 25% less salty and15% less fatty. Her goal is to increase Pepsi’s portfolio of “good for you”products (nuts, oats, fruit juice) from about $10 billion, or one-fifth ofrevenue, to $30 billion.
Virtuousthis may be, but it has not been good for the bottom line. Since Ms Nooyi tookover in October 2006 Pepsi’s shares have declined by 7%, while those ofCoca-Cola, its great rival, have risen by 50%. This failure has perhaps beenexacerbated by unhappiness within the company’s American drinks business, whichhas lost three marketing bosses in just over three years. In the same period itsuffered several marketing flubs, including a botched Tropicana makeover and aconfusing relaunch of Gatorade.
Would asplit help? Pepsi would certainly be following a trend. In January Sara Lee, ahawker of cakes and sausages, said it would split into an American retail andfood-service business and a meats business. In August, Kraft announced that itwould split its international snack brands (Trident gum, Cadbury’s chocolate)from its North American grocery business, including Maxwell House coffee,Jell-O and Oscar Mayer meats. And earlier this month the shares of twocompanies formed by splitting a wildly diversified group, Fortune Brands, begantrading on the New York Stock Exchange. Investors could choose between FortuneBrands Home & Security (locks, windows) and Beam (which makes Jim Beam whiskey).
公司的拆分能助一臂之力吗？百事必定会追随这一趋势。今年二月，蛋糕和香肠售卖商萨拉·李说百事将会分成一个美国零售业务部和一个食物服务业务部，以及一个肉类食品业部。今年8月，克拉夫特宣称百事会将国际化的食品品牌从北美杂货业务中分离出去，其北美杂货业务包括麦克斯韦尔家庭咖啡，Jell-O 和 Oscar Mayer meats。本月早些时候，通过拆分一家大型多元化公司Fortune Brands而形成的两家公司开始在纽约证券交易所上市交易。投资者们可以在Fortune Brands Home & Security (locks, windows)和Beam (whichmakes Jim Beam whiskey)的股票之间做出选择。
Not allthese splits will work out. One or two had a whiff of desperation, says AswathDamodaran of the Stern School of Business. It was as if, having ruthlessly cutcosts and still not improved their performance, the mother companies had simplyrun out of other ideas. Pepsi, by contrast, seems ripe for bisection.
MsNooyi seems determined to keep it in one piece. But the opportunity costs aremounting. She has herself admitted that as a stand-alone company, Frito-Lay,the star in her portfolio, might be the best consumer-goods maker in America.So far activist investors such as, who have successfully pushed for the splitof several consumer-goods companies, have left Pepsi alone. But they may not doso for much longer. It may be time to crack open Pepsi.
Nooyi女士似乎决意要维持现状，但是边际成本过高了。她自己已承认，Frito-Lay作为一个独立的企业在百事系列产品中是明星公司，它可能成为美国最好的消费品生产商。到目前为止，一些投资积极分子已经对百事置之不理，诸如成功地推动了几家消费品公司拆分的Nelson Peltz 和 William Ackman公司。但是他们不会长时间袖手旁观。有可能是时候肢解百事公司了。