Showdown at Heinz

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Packets of ketchup are something else you can't bring on planes. One maker of the red stuff is at the center of attention in the business world. A bitter proxy fight at Heinz reaches a crescendo at an annual board meeting today. Activist shareholder Nelson Peltz has stirred things up at the company. Marketplace's Lisa Napoli reports.


LISA NAPOLI: Not since the Reagan administration classified ketchup a vegetable have so many people been so riled up over the stuff.

Nelson Peltz isn't happy with Heinz stock performance or management, and he's been pushing a dissident slate of candidates for the board.

Teresa Lindeman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says ever since Peltz came on the scene earlier this year, he's shaken up the 130-year old company.

TERESA LINDEMAN: He's already done a lot by just being there. Stock has gone up just since he's expressed interest.

Twenty percent.

Heinz calls Peltz's accusations "mudslinging."

Anyone hoping for a quick outcome to today's fight for control over Heinz should remember that old theme-song: Anticipation. It could be a month till all the votes are counted.

By the way, Heinz's top seller in the United States isn't ketchup. It's frozen french fries.

In Los Angeles, I'm Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

About the author

In more then twenty years in journalism, Lisa Napoli has managed to work for almost every major

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