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Despite Slashing Agrium, Jana Partners is Still Very Much an Activist

Jana Partners, Agrium: In a new 13D with the SEC, Barry Rosenstein‘s Jana Partners reported just a 2.7% stake in Agrium (NYSE:AGU). This is about one-third the size of the stake Jana reported in its last 13F, and in the latest filing, it said “it is pleased by the Issuer’s progress” in the areas of:

(1) capital allocation:  the Issuer has continued to substantially increase its capital return to shareholders, (2) controls:  new metrics regarding the profitability of the Retail business including ROIC, costs and working capital levels have been introduced and incorporated into determining management’s compensation, (3) costs:  the Issuer has announced it will convert to a “hub and spoke” supply system which should help rationalize costs and reduce excess working capital, and (4) corporate governance:  the Reporting Person expects that recently announced management changes and scheduled board retirements will lead to improvements in the Issuer’s openness and responsiveness to proposals for value creating change and to renouncing certain of the tactics employed by the Issuer in connection with the 2013 Annual General Meeting including the undisclosed compensation of brokers and financial advisers for soliciting votes for the incumbent board.

Jana also adds that it “may continue to take other steps seeking to bring about changes to increase shareholder value,” so don’t feel too bearish on this move.


Barry Rosenstein JANA PARTNERS

Disclosure: none

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