Commodities & Metals

Hedge Fund Claims Success in Board Fight at Agrium

Tractor in field on farm
Source: thinkstock
Jana Partners said this morning that it “appears” as if two of its candidates have been elected to the board of directors of fertilizer maker Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU). Jana, a U.S. hedge fund, proposed a slate of five candidates for the Canadian firm’s 12-member board. The official vote count is due tomorrow at Agrium’s annual meeting.

The hedge fund, which owns 7.5% of Agrium and is the company’s largest shareholder, has been agitating for the fertilizer maker to spin off its farm retail division, cut costs and make better use of its capital. For its part, Agrium says the company’s rising share price is evidence that its current strategy is appropriate.

Shareholder advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended that shareholders vote for two of Jana’s candidates. Another advisory firm, Glass Lewis, recommended that shareholders vote for all 12 of Agrium’s slate of candidates.

Jana also accused Agrium of contacting shareholders after the voting closed on Friday and asking them to switch their votes. Earlier the hedge fund claimed that Agrium was paying financial advisors and brokers for votes in favor of the company’s slate of candidates.

Shares of Agrium are up 1.4%, at $97.43 in a 52-week range of $74.28 to $115.31.

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