Relational's Whitworth Confirms Behind the Scenes Efforts At Mondelez

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Ralph Whitworth of hedge fund Relational Investors said on Tuesday he is working behind the scenes on changes to snacks giant Mondelez (MDLZ) after the company took Nelson Peltz of Trian Management onto its board in early 2014.

Whitworth's comments came at the IMN Active-Passive Investor conference in Midtown Manhattan and indicate that if Mondelez doesn't improve its performance, activist pressure may increase.

"They don't have a lot of time to show some traction. If they don't I would expect some change," Whitworth said after confirming that the investment fund is working on change proposals. He did not specify what changes Relational is considering.

At the IMN conference, Whitworth also presented his analysis of why Relational believes Timken (TKR) remains undervalued, and why there may be large upside to SPW Corp SPX. Relational believes Timken has about $1.7 billion in excess liquidity on its balance sheet that can be deployed in a large stock buyback.

Whitworth also reiterated his support of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), a company he now chairs amid a turnaround effort under CEO Meg Whitman. "Meg Whitman is a great leader," the investor said.

Mondelez's Fight with Peltz

Peltz and Mondelez agreed to a pact in January that would give Trian Management seats on the company's board of directors. In return, Peltz agreed to drop a proposal to have the company merge with soda and snacks giant Pepsico (PEP).

Trian Management took large stakes in both Mondelez and PepsiCo in the first-quarter of 2013, and advocated for a merger between the two companies. With Peltz and Trian on-board, Mondelez's board of directors will now expand to 12 members.

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