Feb 21 Activist hedge fund Jana Partners has
boosted its stake in Canadian fertilizer company Agrium Inc
to 7.5 percent, and several Jana nominees to the Agrium
board have also bought shares, U.S. regulatory filings showed on
Jana, Agrium's biggest shareholder, wants major changes at
the company, and talks for a truce in their drawn-out battle
broke down earlier this month, setting the stage for a proxy
Jana owned 11.2 million Agrium shares worth $1 billion as of
Wednesday, according to the fund's filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission. That's an increase of 1.4
million shares since settlement talks ended on Feb. 11, when
Jana's stake was 6.6 percent.
The fund has proposed five candidates for Agrium's 11-member
board, aiming to separate the company's farm retail division
from its fertilizer wholesale arm, as well as taking other steps
aimed at improving returns to shareholders and retail
Agrium's annual general meeting is scheduled for April 9 in
Four of Jana's board candidates have bought stakes in
Mitchell Jacobson, chairman of MSC Industrial Direct Co Inc
, spent $12.9 million to buy 133,500 shares, or a 0.09
stake; David Bullock, a former executive with United Agri
Products (UAP), Stephen Clark, former CEO of Brenntag North
America, and former Canadian Agriculture Minister
Lyle Vanclief bought 2,000, 2,000 and 100 shares, respectively.
Collectively, Jana and its candidates own just less than 7.6
percent of Agrium.
Agrium's stock was down 2 percent at midday on Thursday
after touching an all-time high of C116.38 on Jan. 28. The
company is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results after the
stock market close.