U.S. Markets

Jana granted regulatory clearance for Zimmer Biomet stake

(Reuters) - Jana Partners was granted regulatory clearance on Thursday for its purchase of shares in medical device maker Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc, in a sign that the hedge fund is set to build its stake and press for changes at the company.

Jana on Thursday was granted early termination under the antitrust Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, a public filing required by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s when an investor buys shares in a company above a certain threshold.

The actual size of Jana’s stake in the company is not yet clear, nor are the hedge fund’s plans. Jana and Zimmer Biomet declined to comment.

Zimmer Biomet shares closed up about 2.1 percent at $128.98 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company said on Tuesday that David Dvorak, its chief executive of a decade, had stepped down and would be temporarily replaced by Daniel Florin, Zimmer’s chief financial officer. The company’s shares have lost more than two-thirds of their value during that time.

The company, which has a market value of $26 billion, was formed in 2015 when Zimmer Holdings bought orthopedic products maker Biomet Inc for more than $13 billion.

Bloomberg News, which was first to report the regulatory clearance, said Jana has held talks with the company about potential strategic changes, citing people familiar with the matter.

Reporting by Michael Flaherty in New York; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh and Riham Alkousaa