Activist investor Jana Partners takes 9.1% stake in Pinnacle Foods

By Laura Mullan
Jana Partners has disclosed a 9.1% stake in Pinnacle Foods, the packaged food manufacturer behind brands such as Birds Eye, Vlasic Pickles, and Mrs Butt...

Jana Partners has disclosed a 9.1% stake in Pinnacle Foods, the packaged food manufacturer behind brands such as Birds Eye, Vlasic Pickles, and Mrs Butterworth’s, according to a regulatory filing.

The activist investment firm said that it was in talks with the US company about exploring a possible sale or other transaction in the frozen food space.

The New York-based hedge fund said that it believes Pinnacle Foods’ shares are “undervalued” and represent an “attractive investment opportunity.”

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Jana Partners also said that it may also discuss other issues including the company's’ cost structure, operations and board composition.

The hedge fund has a history of agitating change in the food and beverage sector. Last year, it took similar measures to urge change at Whole Foods Market before it was acquired by Amazon Inc. for $13.7bn.

Owned by billionaire Barry Rosenstein, the hedge fund has also pushed for changes at Conagra Brands In., Safeway Inc. and most recently at Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands Inc.

“We are aware that Jana Partners has made a 13D filing regarding its investment in Pinnacle Foods,” a Pinnacle spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

“Pinnacle’s Board of Directors and management team welcome stockholder input and are committed to continuing to create value for all stockholders.”

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