Activist Jana Is Set to Make $144 Million on Pinnacle Foods Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Activist investor Jana Partners and its affiliates stand to make about $144 million on their investment in Pinnacle Foods Inc., after the packaged-food company agreed to be acquired by Conagra Brands Inc. for $8.1 billion.

The New York-based hedge fund, run by Barry Rosenstein, disclosed a 9.5 percent position in Parsippany, New Jersey-based Pinnacle on April 19. Jana and its partners, which started building a position in February, acquired their holdings for about $627.4 million -- or 11.34 million shares at about $55.33 apiece on average -- according to a regulatory filing.

Jana said at the time that Pinnacle was in a good position to consider consolidation given its strong position in the frozen-foods industry.

The $68-a-share that Conagra offered for Pinnacle Wednesday values the investment by Jana and its partners at about $771.1 million -- a $143.7 million profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Jana teamed up on the investment with former Unilever NV executive James Lawrence, Lululemon Athletica Inc. Chairman Glenn Murphy and Rodan & Fields LLC Chief Executive Officer Diane Dietz.

A representative for Jana didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jana also held about 3.3 million shares in Conagra at the end of the second quarter. Conagra shares fell 7 percent in New York Wednesday to about $35.50, valuing the stake at about $117.9 million.

It’s not the first time Jana has made a quick profit after investing in a food-focused company. In 2017, the hedge fund acquired an 8.3 percent stake in Whole Foods, making about $300 million when Inc. agreed to purchase the company for $13.7 billion a few months later.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.