Jana takes case for Agrium breakup to Canada investors

Reuters / Activist shareholder Jana Partners LLC said Jan. 23 it is taking its case for splitting up Agrium Inc. to the fertilizer company’s Canadian investors, just ahead of an Agrium move to solidify its support among sell-side analysts.

Jana, a New York-based hedge fund, wants Agrium to split its farm retail division from its wholesale operations and make other changes to improve returns to shareholders.

Agrium has steadfastly refused to consider spinning off its retail arm while seeking to placate disgruntled shareholders by raising its dividend last year and completing a share buyback.

“Agrium’s board has been living in an alternate universe where shareholders have no desire to explore the many ways we’ve identified to unlock value,” said Jana managing partner Barry Rosenstein, one of the hedge fund’s candidates for Agrium’s board.

“All along we have been speaking to shareholders and seeing a much different picture, with just about every shareholder we speak to wanting to see a serious discussion of these issues and a large and growing number who support enhancing the board so Agrium can reach its full potential.”

Jana owns six per cent of Agrium, making it the biggest shareholder of the widely held company.

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