On Thursday, activist investor Jana Partners revealed that it has big plans for Pinnacle Foods Inc. (PF) after disclosing a 9.1% stake in the packaged foods manufacturer.
In a regulatory filing, the New York-based hedge fund said it is keen to explore a range of options with Pinnacle, including a potential sale. Jana, which has a history of agitating for change in the food sector, also intends to discuss with management the company’s cost structure, operations and the composition of its board of directors.
“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.” (See also: Jana Partners Bought Facebook, Comcast and Teva: 13F Filings.)
Pinnacle’s shares were up 9.15% to $60.25 in pre-market trading on Friday morning.
Unlike some of its activist investing peers, Jana is known to prefer working away from the limelight and avoiding ugly battles to gain control of organizations. Last year, the hedge fund run by billionaire Barry Rosenstein took a stake in Whole Foods Market, vowing to shake up the grocer’s board and reverse the company’s under-performance before it was eventually taken over by Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN).
Jana also recently pushed for changes at Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands Inc. (BLMN). Earlier this year, its persistence resulted in it winning a board seat at the firm.
Prior to Jana’s stake being disclosed, Pinnacle’s investors were hopeful of a merger with Conagra Brands Inc. (CAG). Talks between the two companies eventually broke down, although with Jana now on board a deal could be back on the table — the hedge fund is also invested in Conagra. (See also: Teva Stock Spikes After 13F Filing of Buffett's Berkshire Is Revealed.)