Jana Ups Ante In Battle For CNET

Jan 11 2008 | 1:00am ET

Activist hedge fund Jana Partners is not known for taking criticism lightly, and has struck back at Internet media company CNET where it hurts.

The New York-based firm launched a bid to take control of CNET’s board, complaining that the company has not done enough to boost its flagging stock price, and is now taking issue with CNET’s characterization of its intentions. And to back up its fighting words, Jana boosted its voting stake in the company to 10.6% from 8.1%

In particular, Jana managing partner Barry Rosenstein took issue with CNET’s claim that his firm wants to take over CNET “without offering sufficient value to all stockholders.” Rather, Rosenstein counters, Jana merely wants board members who will increase long-term shareholder value.

It is CNET’s “own underperformance that makes it more vulnerable to an opportunistic acquirer looking to acquire it cheaply.” Jana is backed by hedge fund Sandell Asset Management, which owns a 5% non-voting stake in CNET.

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