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PepsiCo says it doesn't need a big acquisition

NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo Inc. issued a statement Friday saying it doesn't see the need for any major acquisitions after a newspaper report suggested activist investor Nelson Peltz could push the snack-and-soda giant to merge with Oreo cookie maker Mondelez International.

The Telegraph of London cited unnamed sources saying Peltz has been building stakes in both companies in recent weeks.

In a short statement, the Purchase, N.Y.-based company said that it doesn't comment on market rumor or speculation.

"As we've said before, we are making strong progress in our strategy to deliver long-term growth and create shareholder value," the company said. In addition to its soda business, PepsiCo owns Frito-Lay snacks, Gatorade and Quaker Oats.

Mondelez International Inc., which split from Kraft Foods Group Inc. last year, also said it was satisfied with its portfolio as it stands.

A representative for Peltz's Trian Fund Management declined to comment.

PepsiCo has long been the subject of rumors that it would spin off its underperforming beverage business. CEO Indra Nooyi tried to squash such talks last year with a "Power of One" marketing campaign that featured the company's sodas alongside its chips. At the same time, however, the company has been reviewing options to restructure its North American beverage business and recently said it would postpone providing more thoughts on the matter until early next year.

In particular, the company said it wanted to see how a new sweetener system it has in the works plays out.

"We certainly wouldn't want to make a change in the business structure while there's still opportunities to unlock value that might be better unlocked while PepsiCo still owns the business," Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston said in a call with reporters in February.

If PepsiCo were to spin off its beverage business, Consumer Edge Research CEO Bill Pecoriello has noted that the company would likely look to make a major acquisition to remain as big as it is today. In addition to Oreos, Mondelez makes global snack brands such as Nabisco, Cadbury and Milka.