March 3, 2008 / 8:39 PM / 11 years ago

Peltz's stake in Heinz slides below 5 pct on share distribution

March 3 (Reuters) - Activist investor Nelson Peltz saw his stake in H.J. Heinz Co HNZ.N slip below 5 percent after an affiliate of his investment vehicle Trian Fund distributed shares of the world’s largest ketchup maker to certain investors.

Trian SPV distributed about 3.2 million shares to some investors in its parent entities due to the expiration of a two-year lock-up period, Peltz disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trian SPV now directly owns about 2.2 million shares in Heinz.

The distribution of the shares leaves Peltz with a 4.9 percent stake in the company, and gives him ownership and shared voting power over 15.5 million shares.

He had earlier held a 6 percent stake, or about 19 million shares.

Castlerigg Master Investments, with which Peltz has a shared voting agreement, holds 5.1 million shares of the 15.5 million. On Feb. 28, Castlerigg had sold 284,236 shares of Heinz in the open market for $44.90 each.

Peltz and Trian fought a contentious proxy battle with Heinz in 2006, winning two of the five seats Trian sought on Heinz’s board — one for Peltz and one for former Snapple Chief Executive Michael Weinstein.

But following the battle, Peltz and Heinz management have developed a “very good working relationship,”Michael Mullen, director of global corporate affairs for Heinz, said by phone.

“Trian Partners has indicated to Heinz that it remains pleased with its Heinz investment...Nelson Peltz will continue to serve on the Heinz board,” Mullen wrote in an e-mail. (Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Additional reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Pratish Narayanan)

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