Jana Took Stakes in News Corp., Huntsman, J.C. Penney

Jana Partners LLC, the $7 billion hedge-fund firm run by Barry Rosenstein, took stakes in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., chemical maker Huntsman Corp., and struggling retailer J.C. Penney Co. last quarter.

The fund acquired 8.55 million class A shares of News Corp., the New York-based newspaper publisher, valued at $137.3 million as of Sept. 30, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today. Jana bought 6.4 million shares in Huntsman, valued at $132.4 million, and 500,000 shares in J.C. Penney with a market value of $4.4 million. Jana also purchased 1.42 million shares of Pitney Bowes Inc., a provider of postal meters and other equipment, valued at $25.9 million.

Jana is an event-driven fund, generally investing in companies undergoing shifts such as mergers, spinoffs and bankruptcies, and is known for pushing management to make changes. Charles Penner, a partner at New York-based Jana, declined to comment on the new stakes.

Shares of News Corp. rose 0.1 percent to $17.23 as of 10:34 a.m. in New York, as J.C. Penney increased 1.3 percent to $8.78 and Pitney Bowes gained 0.9 percent to $22.48. Huntsman declined 0.5 percent to $23.11.

News Corp. split off from TV-and-film focused 21st Century Fox Inc. in June, creating a new business focused mostly on publishing. The company, which owns newspapers in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, earlier this month reported a decline in revenue amid shrinking demand for print advertising.

Hunstman, J.C. Penney

Huntsman, based in Salt Lake City, is creating a separate pigment company and may spin off some of the new business to shareholders after a planned initial public offering, Bloomberg News reported in October.

Investors have diverged in their bets on whether J.C. Penney can stage a turnaround. The retailer has struggled since the 2008 financial crisis led to a halving of profits and a slump in its shares. Activist investor Bill Ackman, who pushed for changes including the appointment of a new chief executive officer, sold his shares and resigned from the company’s board in August after sparring with fellow directors and failing to revamp the retailer.

Pitney Bowes, based in Stamford, Connecticut, said in July that it had agreed to sell its management-services unit to Apollo Global Management LLC for about $400 million in cash. The deal was expected to close in the fourth quarter, according to a statement.

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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