Activist investor Jana Partners takes 9.1% stake in Pinnacle Foods
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.”
Ireland could create template for global food sustainability
Leveraging innovation could cultivate new agricultural breakthroughs, making Ireland the most responsible and sustainable food producer on Earth, according to a renowned local luminary.
Economist and author David McWilliams has insisted that Ireland can become a pivotal carbon-neutral, resource-efficient and sustainable food producer – possibly the most influential on the planet.
He does acknowledge, however, that there are considerable obstacles on the country’s trailblazing journey to complete energy-efficient and sustainable food production.
McWilliams also claims that the widely-held belief within the EU that reducing food production thus reduces carbon emissions does not tally.
“For the European Union to get an aggregate reduction in carbon emissions,” said McWilliams at the Alltech ONE Ideas Conference. “It would seem to me much more logical to favour those countries that have had an evolutionary, ecological or environmental gift, in order to actually produce more, not less, because your input-output ratio is so much lower than it is either in the parched Mediterranean or in the frozen tundra of the North.”
Reflecting on the situation in the US, McWilliams said its agriculture output had tripled between 1948 and 2015, with exponential gains in efficiency. Surprisingly, agriculture only contributes to 7.5% of total US greenhouse gases, far below the 30% attributed to cars.
“I think American culture is changing, at least when you see it from the outside,” said McWilliams said of President Biden’s approach. “He's saying, ‘There's no point being wealthy if the wealth is only in the hands of a small minority. The wealth has to trickle down to everybody else.’”
McWilliams concluded that for Irish agriculture to modernise and grow, it should use one of Ireland’s leading sectors – technology – as a frame of reference. It currently generates over $25 billion in exports.