03/27/2013 07:22 EDT | Updated 05/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Two major proxy advisory firms give mixed message on Agrium vote

CALGARY - Two major proxy advisory firms have reached different conclusions about how shareholders should vote in a hotly contested battle for control of Agrium Inc.'s board of directors.

Agrium (TSX:AGU) says Glass, Lewis & Co. LLC has recommended that its clients vote for all 12 of nominees put forward by the Calgary-based fertilizer company.

Their rival, New York-based Jana Partners, says Institutional Shareholder Services has come out in favour of two of its five alternative nominees.

It says ISS has concluded shareholders should support Jana managing partner Barry Rosenstein and David Bullock, a former CFO of Graham Packaging for the Agrium board.

According to an excerpt of the ISS report released by Jana, the proxy adviser says the two Jana nominees would push to improve Agrium's performance but wouldn't be able to break it up without support from the other directors.