Rentokil shares jump after Nelson Peltz builds stake in pest control giant

12 June 2024, 13:44

A Rentokil worker and van
Rentokil update. Picture: PA

The company’s share price was up by as much as 16% on Wednesday as investors piled cash into the FTSE 100-listed business.

Shares in pest control giant Rentokil have leapt higher after prominent activist investor Nelson Peltz swooped in to build a bigger stake and help steer the future of the UK business.

The company’s share price was up by as much as 16% on Wednesday as investors piled cash into the FTSE 100-listed business.

Mr Peltz’s investment firm, Trian Partners, has amassed a significant stake in Rentokil, making it among the top 10 shareholders in the business, as first reported in Bloomberg News.

Trian confirmed it had “reached out to Rentokil to discuss ideas and initiatives to improve shareholder value”, adding: “Trian looks forward to working with Rentokil’s leadership team.”

The news gave a boost to Rentokil, which has seen its share price weaken over the past year.

The company, which owns former US rival Terminix, is a global leader in the pest control industry, hygiene and wellbeing sector.

Billionaire investor Mr Peltz sits on the board of consumer giant Unilever and American restaurant chain Wendy’s, and has previously been a director of major firms including Heinz, Mondelez, and Proctor & Gamble.

His company, Trian, had recently been pushing US entertainment giant Disney for seats on the company’s board, efforts which were rebuffed by its shareholders who stood behind its chief executive.

Mr Peltz’s family have also gained recognition in their own right, with his daughter, Nicola, an actress who is married to Brooklyn Peltz Beckham, the eldest son of former footballer David Beckham.

Experts suggested the increased stake could signal that changes are on the way for Rentokil, thanks to Mr Peltz’s history of driving turnaround campaigns at the firms he has worked with.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “Having failed to catch a mouse at Disney, Nelson Peltz is now chasing rats at Rentokil.

“Now a top 10 shareholder in the firm, Peltz is likely to pursue a big shake-up of a company which has struggled in comparison with its US peer Rollins, both in share price terms and financial performance.

“Given Rentokil does a large chunk of its business across the Atlantic, this could include a push to shift its primary listing to the US, which would be another blow to the prestige of London as a listing venue.”

By Press Association