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How Warren Buffett’s Sweet Tooth Figures in Bill Ackman’s Mondelez Play

Bill Ackman is hoping Warren Buffett will stay true to his nature.

The Journal broke the news last night that Mr. Ackman wants to push Mondelez International Inc.—home to widely known snack foods like Cadbury chocolates, Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers—into making some big changes, including a potential deal with Kraft Heinz Co. The largest shareholder in Kraft Heinz in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. And it’s no secret that Mr. Buffett is a big fan of iconic brand names.

It doesn’t hurt that the Oracle of Omaha is an unabashed lover of junk food too.

But it would be premature to assume that a tie-up between the two is a certainty. For one thing, Mr. Buffett isn’t a fan of some activist-investing tactics and dislikes bidding wars, so the just-launched public campaign by Mr. Ackman–a self-professed fan of Mr. Buffett–has the potential to backfire.

[EARLIER: Ackman on Buffett: ‘He’s Been My Professor’]

In addition, Mr. Buffett hasn’t always been a fan of the way the company’s been run. While he’s previously owned a big chunk of the firm now known as Mondelez, it remains an open question whether he’d be willing to pay the sort of premium that would be necessary to acquire it now.

Mr. Buffett didn’t respond to a request for comment.

There are other hurdles, too, that aren’t directly tied to Mr. Buffett. The merger of Kraft Heinz is a fresh one, and the newly formed company is just starting to take shape. While Berkshire is a big Kraft Heinz shareholder, Brazilian private-equity firm 3G Capital Partners LP holds a position that’s almost as large, and would have to agree to the transaction as well. And so would a host of other interested parties, including regulators and other shareholders.

But...


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