There’s a battle bubbling behind the scenes at The Coca-Cola Company.
Firing the first shot was David Winters, founder of Wintergreen Advisers, who said on Tuesday that Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett could be working on a plan with 3G Capital to take the soft drink giant private, and suggested that the company’s board of directors, which includes Buffett’s son, could use some “fresh perspective.” Winters also sent a letter to Coca-Cola shareholders, its board, and Buffett, blasting the company’s 2014 compensation plan.
Buffett, who owns roughly 9 percent of Coca-Cola, quickly shot down Winters remarks telling CNBC’s Becky Quick that there’s “absolutely no chance” that Coca-Cola will go private.
Buffett and Winters’ comments sent Coca-Cola shares sharply higher in the first 30 minutes of trading Tuesday, before fizzling down to about half a percent higher on the day.
So, should investors take a chance on Coke’s stock?
“The stock doesn’t really do much for me,” said Oppenheimer’s head of institutional portfolio strategy Andrew Burkly. “It’s been an underperformer for a couple of years, there’s really not a lot of growth in the industry, and really the bigger problem, in my opinion, is it’s pretty expensive—trading at about 19 times earnings.”
According to Richard Ross, global technical analyst at Auerbach Grayson, the charts don’t look great for Coca-Cola either.
“We know that Coca-Cola is the bluest of the blue chips, but that’s the company,” he said. “Even Buffett will tell you that successful investing is all about the entry point, and to that point, I think we can do better.”
Ross pointed out that he does not like the stock at current levels, “I’m not particularly excited about the shares up here into that key resistance [at $41 per share],” he said. “I think you can be a better buyer if you do like the stock down around that $38 [ per share] level, but any break below $38 [per share] you want to be a seller of Coca-Cola.”
Of Tuesday’s rumors that Coca-Cola could be a potential takeover target, Ross said, “this is not OpenTable, this is a $180 billion-dollar company, I don’t think we’re going to see Coca-Cola disappear from the Dow anytime soon.”
Check out the video above for the full discussion on Tuesday’s episode of CNBC’s “Street Signs.”
- Investment & Company Information
- Warren Buffett
- David Winters