Jana Took Stakes in Zynga, Groupon During First Quarter
Jana Partners LLC, the hedge-fund manager run by Barry Rosenstein, took stakes in Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) and Groupon (GRPN) Inc. last quarter while exiting companies including insurer American International Group Inc. (AIG) and McGraw Hill Financial Inc.
The fund acquired 25.5 million shares of social-gaming company Zynga, valued at $85.6 million at the end of the quarter, and 21.9 million shares of Chicago-based Groupon, worth $134.3 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Jana, which manages about $5 billion, generally invests in companies undergoing changes such as mergers, spinoffs and bankruptcies, and is known for pushing management to consider changes. Zynga Chief Executive Officer Mark Pincus is working to restart growth as more consumers shift away from games on desktop machines, and toward games played on wireless devices.
The San Francisco-based company last month forecast second-quarter sales that may fall short of some analysts’ estimates as revenue from mobile titles fails to make up for the drop in users accessing games via Facebook Inc. (FB)’s website.
Zynga gained 4.4 percent to close at $3.48 in New York. Groupon declined 0.4 percent to $6.86.
Groupon’s shares have gained 41 percent this year as the daily deal website increases coupon sales from its mobile application and adds personalization features to attract more users. Coupons sold on mobile devices accounted for 45 percent of all transactions in North America in the quarter ended in March, up from 30 percent a year earlier, the company said earlier this month.
Jana exited its $122 million stake in insurer American International Group and a $118 million holding in McGraw Hill Financial. Jana had pushed McGraw Hill to consider changes and the company completed the sale of its education unit to Apollo Global Management LLC (APO) in March.
Agrium Inc. (AGU), the largest U.S. farm-products retailer, was the New York-based hedge fund’s largest U.S.-listed stock holding as of March 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Jana has feuded with Agrium after proposing that the Calgary-based company split its retail farm-products operations from its wholesale fertilizer unit.
Jana said in a separate filing in April that it took a stake in Oil States International Inc. (OIS) and spoke with management at the Houston-based company about separating its well-site services unit and creating a real estate investment trust for its oilfield housing business. The hedge fund also said in a regulatory filing last month that it had acquired a 7.4 percent stake in chemical maker Ashland Inc. (ASH)
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.
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