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LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. activist shareholder Third Point LLC has targeted Nestle (NESN.S) by taking a $3.5 billion stake in the food maker and urging Europe's most valuable company to boost returns as demand for its products weakens. Nestle shares jumped as much as 4.8 percent on Monday, touching a record high after Third Point disclosed its position late on Sunday in a letter to the hedge fund's investors. In the letter, Third Point said it was urging the Swiss group to improve margins, buy back shares and get rid of non-core businesses, including its $27 billion stake in L'Oreal (OREP.PA).
AMSTERDAM/LONDON (Reuters) - When billionaire activist investor Daniel Loeb wanted to give his arguments against Nestle's (NESN.S) performance greater credibility and heft, he turned to one of Europe's most experienced turnaround experts, Dutchman Jan Bennink. Loeb's fund, Third Point LLC, disclosed a $3.5 billion stake in the Swiss food group in a letter to its investors late on Sunday in which he said Nestle should boost margins, buy back shares and get rid of non-core businesses including a 23 percent stake in L'Oreal (OREP.PA). "Jan has direct operating experience in four of Nestle's key categories: coffee, baby food, medical nutrition, and dairy, as well as an unimpeachable record of substantial shareholder value creation," Third Point said in its letter.
Newly minted Nestlé Chief Executive Mark Schneider is facing the first big challenge of his short career in packaged foods.