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PepsiCo should still split drinks, snacks, activist investor says

NEW YORK — Activist investor Nelson Peltz is ramping up the pressure on PepsiCo, reaffirming his call for the company to separate its drinks division from its snack unit.

PepsiCo’s drinks, including Mountain Dew, Tropicana, and Aquafina, have lost ground to Coca-Cola Co.’s in recent years. US soda consumption has also been on the decline, with people worried about calories, sugar, and artificial sweeteners.

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Peltz’s Trian Fund Management wrote to PepsiCo Inc. on Wednesday, saying it views ‘‘structural change as the best path forward.”

Trian also said PepsiCo’s beverage unit can generate more cash flow under ‘‘focused leadership.’’

Trian said it is so confident in the value of a separate beverage business that it would buy additional shares and be willing to join the board of a newly created beverage business to help lead it.

The fund plans to meet with fellow shareholders and hopes to create a groundswell of support that prompts PepsiCo to take action.

Trian has pushed for changes at PepsiCo since November. Funds it manages own $1.2 billion of PepsiCo common stock.

PepsiCo said last week that after an ‘‘exhaustive’’ review it decided its current combined snacks and drinks structure would maximize shareholder value. Its snack business includes the Fritos, Lay’s, and Tostito’s brands.

In the end, PepsiCo said that it continues to concentrate on delivering shareholder results and ‘‘not new, costly distractions that will harm shareholder interests.’’

Shares of PepsiCo added 81 cents, or 1.2 percent, to close at $78.01 in New York on Thursday.

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