Deals and IPOs

Pepsi rips Peltz plan as 'costly distraction'; says investors back strategy

Nelson Peltz taking Pepsi battle to shareholders

Activist investor Nelson Peltz added more pressure to PepsiCo Thursday in making a case for splitting up the snack and beverage behemoth, as the company pointedly dismissed his plans as a "new, costly" distraction.

Earlier, Peltz told CNBC that he has already spoken with several shareholders and received positive reaction. Peltz added that his investment firm, Trian Fund Management, will take the issue to every major Pepsi shareholder in the coming weeks. Trian owned about $1.2 billion of Pepsico stock, as of last week.

Nelson Peltz says plans to take case on Pepsi directly to shareholders.
CNBC (L) | Paul Taggart (R) | Getty Images

to divide the company when a 37-page letter to the board went public, urging PepsiCo to spin off its beverage business and focus on its billion-dollar snack business to create "two leaner and more entrepreneurial companies."

However, Pepsi pushed back against Peltz's argument. The company told CNBC that its board and management were "focused on delivering results for shareholders, not a distraction that will harm other shareholder interests." The company added that Blackrock's Larry Fink, himself a major Pepsi shareholder, was not in favor of a break-up plan.

"PepsiCo is in constant communication with our investor base, and has received strong support for their strategy," the company said, adding that the board and executives were "fully aligned" with Pepsi's plan.

The company has already downplayed the option of dividing the company and said earlier this month that it had exhaustively researched the idea and concluded that it wouldn't make sense.

"Decoupling our beverage and snack businesses in North America would significantly reduce our relevance to our customers," Chief Executive Indra Nooyi said, at the time.

—By CNBC's Scott Wapner. Reuters contributed to this article.