Jana Partners Took Stake in Agrium, Exited Marathon

Jana Partners LLC, the hedge fund run by Barry Rosenstein, took a stake in Agrium Inc. (AGU) and exited Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) last quarter, according to a regulatory filing today.

The fund acquired 6.5 million shares of Agrium, the largest U.S. farm retailer, valued at $575 million as of June 30, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That makes the Calgary-based company Jana’s largest U.S.-listed stock holding as of the second quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The firm also held 280,500 call options in Agrium valued at $24.8 million, the filing shows.

Agrium said in a statement today that it won’t spin off its retail operations following a report in the Wall Street Journal that Jana wants the unit split from its more profitable wholesale business. Jana Partners has proposed similar plans to holdings including McGraw-Hill Cos. (MHP)

New York-based Jana sold its stake in Marathon Petroleum, the firm’s largest holding as of March 31, in the second quarter. The Findlay, Ohio-based crude refiner filed with the SEC on July 2 a proposed initial public offering of its MPLX LP (MPLX) unit to form a master-limited partnership for pipeline assets.

Jana is an event-driven fund, meaning it generally invests in companies undergoing changes such as mergers, spinoffs and bankruptcies. The firm oversees about $3 billion in investments and commitments.

Charles Penner, a Jana spokesman, declined to comment.

Google, AOL

The value of the hedge fund’s investments in materials companies rose 27 percent during the quarter and information technology companies rose by 1.9 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Jana took a new position in Mountain View, California-based Google Inc. (GOOG) with 110,016 shares valued at $63.8 million as of June 30. The firm had sold its stake in the world’s largest search-engine operator during the first quarter. Jana also added 2.8 million shares valued at $79.7 million of AOL Inc. (AOL), the online publisher based in New York.

The firm took a new stake in Phillips 66 (PSX), the Houston-based refiner, adding about 2.6 million shares valued $85.1 million, according to the filing.

Jana owned 2.7 million shares of McGraw-Hill valued at $121.6 million as of the end of the second quarter, making it the firm’s third-biggest holding. Jana has taken an activist role in the New York-based publisher, proposing a plan last year to break it up. McGraw-Hill said in September it will split into two by the end of this year, with one company focused on financial information and the other on educational publishing.

Money managers who oversee more than $100 million in U.S. equities must file a Form 13F within 45 days of the end of each quarter to list their holdings in stocks that trade on U.S. exchanges, as well as options and convertible debt.

Hedge funds are lightly regulated pools of capital whose managers can invest in any asset and share in annual profits.

To contact the reporter on this story: Margaret Collins in New York at mcollins45@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net

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