Lake Success, N.Y. --PepsiCo is the latest food and beverage company to emerge as a logical acquirer of Hain Celestial, which has been linked in the past week with Nestle, Kraft Heinz, Pinnacle Foods and General Mills.

“The company doesn’t comment on rumors,” Hain spokesperson Mary Anthes toldWholeFoods. The name surfaced in a post onThe Motley Fool.

Activist investor Engaged Capital expressed its intentions to push for a sale after buying a large stake in the global organic and natural products company. In late September, Hain agreed to bring Engaged founder Glenn Welling onto its board and theWall Street Journalreported a group of directors would be formed to examine strategic alternatives.

In its heyday, Hain stock traded as high as $70. In mid-2016 the company’s value dropped by about 30% when it announced it would have to delay earnings due to improper revenue recognition.

PepsiCo is known for its marketing prowess and an acquisition would give it a strong presence in organic, gluten-free and vegetarian brands such as Celestial Seasonings, Arrowhead Mills, Earth’s Best, BluePrint Organic and its new Greek Gods yogurt.

In the last two quarters, Hain has shown signs ofturning around, although its shares took a hit after the Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods Market closed. Hain told analysts it anticipates sales growth of 4% - 6% in 2018.

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 11/27/17