BUSINESS

Bitter proxy fight between hedge fund Jana and fertilizer giant Agrium nears end

04/09/2013 04:00 EDT | Updated 06/08/2013 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - After months of sniping back and forth, there is an end in sight for the battle between Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) and its largest shareholder, activist investor Jana Partners.

The fertilizer giant holds its annual meeting in Calgary today, where investors will find out which 12 directors have been elected to Agrium's board.

Jana is looking to have its five nominees elected to the board, which the investment firm says hasn't given fair hearing to its ideas and has stubbornly resisted change.

Agrium says Jana's only aim is to break up the company into parts, but the fund says it is also pushing for better cost control, governance and capital management.

Jana said Monday that it looks like two of its five director nominees — its managing partner Barry Rosenstein and former farm retail executive David Bullock — have been elected to the board, based on voting results it has seen since the Friday deadline.

Jana, which first approached Agrium privately last May, has spent more than $1 billion to amass a 7.5 per cent stake in the fertilizer giant.