Jana Loses Proxy Battle After Claiming Victory

Apr 10 2013 | 10:29am ET

Jana Partners may have spoken too soon.

A day after the activist hedge fund claimed to have won two seats on the board of directors of Agrium Inc., the Canadian fertilizer company announced that it had, in fact, won none. Agrium said yesterday at its annual meeting in Calgary, Alberta, that all five management-backed board nominees were re-elected.

Jana said on Monday that founder Barry Rosenstein and one of its other four nominees appeared to have enough votes to be elected. Agrium quickly dismissed the claim—and appears to have had the last laugh.

Rosenstein, however, vowed that "this tainted vote isn't the end of the story." He blasted Agrium for tarring him as a "billionaire hedge fund manager" and claimed that Agrium had strong-armed its way to a victory.

"We have learned, however, that yesterday, three days after the vote deadline, votes for us were revoked, enough apparently to change the outcome of the vote," Rosenstein said.

New York-based Jana has pushed Agrium to spin off its retail business. "We will not hesitate to speak up should Agrium return to its old ways," Rosenstein promised.

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