Jana cuts stake in Safeway after grocer responds to demands

NEW YORK Wed Dec 4, 2013 5:30pm EST

NEW YORK Dec 4 (Reuters) - Activist investor Jana Partners LLC said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that it reduced its stake in Safeway Inc, saying it was pleased with the steps the grocer has taken to exit the Chicago market and review its business.

Jana reported in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it held 10.1 million Safeway shares, or 4.1 percent of shares outstanding, down from 6.2 percent in September. The reduction included a sales of 3 million shares on Monday. Jana bought its shares at an average price of $26.67.

Shares on Wednesday closed down 2.2 percent at $34.21.

In September, Jana disclosed it had taken a stake in Safeway and that it had held talks with the company about reviewing strategic alternatives, including exiting weak markets. In October, Safeway announced its was leaving the very competitive Chicago market.