Barry Rosenstein’s JANA Partners been increasing the pressure on the agriculture company, Agrium Inc (NYSE: AGU), JANA’s largest holding and Agrium Inc (NYSE: AGU)’s largest single shareholder. The hedge fund is asking for a split of the company’s wholesale and retail divisions. JANA owns more than 6.5 million shares of Agrium Inc (NYSE: AGU) and this makes up 23 percent of the hedge fund’s total portfolio. Barry Rosenstein will be speaking at the ValueInvestingCongress.
Agrium’s stock has increased by some 40 percent in value through the year so far, but JANA believes it is still underperforming as compared to its peers and is largely undervalued due to its historical low performance spanning over multiple years. JANA initiated its position in Agrium in the last quarter. The strong belief is that JANA’s activism in Agrium will lead to better company management and improved insight into the performance of the retail arm. The hedgefund also thinks that the company can increase profits by cutting corporate overhead costs and operating spendings and a split will lead to better valuation of the company’s stock.
JANA’s basic investment strategy is value/event-driven, in the past it has bought stocks of companies that were undervalued and has campaigned for splits, spin offs, stock buys and other strategic changes. The fund works on a cooperative approach rather than practicing raw shareholder activism. Previously the fund was successful in initiating a spin-off of Marathon Pertroleum Corp (NYSE: MPC) and reaped $44 million in profits. Marathon Pertroleum Corp (NYSE: MPC) is one of the biggest oil refiners in US and its share price soared 10 percent the day it announced that it will spin off its pipeline business. Similarly the fund was able to convince The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (NYSE: MHP) to divest off its education business and this has already lead to a consistent upswing in the stock’s price. JANA holds over 5 percent share in The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (NYSE: MHP).
JANA has a good track record so far, the fund was up 11.2 percent YTD till the last quarter and initiated positions in Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX), AOL Inc(NYSE: AOL), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), American Realty Trust (NASDAQ: ARCT).
Barry Rosenstein will be speaking at the upcoming ValueInvestingCongress in New York City.
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