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Procter & Gamble won't be breaking up: CEO

Brian Sozzi

Procter & Gamble (PG) brands such as Tide, Pampers and Gillette will have the same home for the foreseeable future.

“No. The company gets tremendous value on being one company,” P&G CEO David Taylor told Yahoo Finance when asked if recent organizational changes hinted at a potential breakup of the company. “P&G as a company can accomplish more than any one of the individual categories can.”

P&G said earlier in November it will split up into six business units from 10. Taylor, a more than 37-year veteran of P&G, believes the overhaul will help the sprawling consumer goods company to develop new products quicker. It’s also likely the changes will help cut costs at a time of tremendous pressure on consumer giants like P&G amid trade tensions and commodities inflation.

P&G hasn’t disclosed whether there will be layoffs related to the overhaul.

An argument could be made whether P&G has shaken things up enough to appease activist investors and new board member Trian Partners’ Nelson Peltz. In a bruising proxy contest last September,  Peltz released a 93-page white paper arguing against P&G’s “insular” culture and slowness on acquiring upstart brands. Peltz also recommended P&G splitting up into three business segments. 

A Trian Partners spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request to comment on P&G’s changes.

For the time being, the wind seems to be behind the sails of Taylor and his executive team. P&G shares have surged 27% in the last three months spurred by signs of sales momentum in the latest quarter. Wall Street has also warmed up to the notion of a good bit of cost savings over the next 12 months from the organizational overhaul.

“We expect investors to broadly embrace P&G’s new organization structure, but they will likely remain skeptical until further evidence of improvement is seen,” Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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