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Pro Analysis

Morgan Stanley: Here's Ackman's Chipotle playbook

Food preparation at a Chipotle restaurant
Source: Chipotle
Food preparation at a Chipotle restaurant

After Pershing Square revealed a 9.9 percent stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill, Morgan Stanley told investors what changes the activist hedge fund is likely to push for with company management.

"We see no quick fix to what CMG really needs, a revitalization of top line, and activism's traditional tools for restaurants — spin offs, refranchising, asset sales and cost cuts — don't appear to offer short term opportunities, leaving few obvious quick levers to pull," analyst John Glass wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.

"But the presence of a large and vocal investor may provide mgmt more incentive to hasten their turnaround efforts, which appear to have stalled, and could cause the shorts to cover, at least for now."

Here are the five potential activist moves the analyst sees for the restaurant chain.