Activist Jana Nominates Directors to Labcorp’s Board

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Jana Partners has nominated directors to the board of Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings, including industry veteran Mac Crawford, as the activist investor seeks changes at the company, according to investors briefed on the matter.

The New York-based hedge fund, which is run by Barry Rosenstein, has held talks with several of Labcorp’s investors to discuss various avenues it wants the company to pursue to improve shareholder value, the investors said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. It is unclear how many directors Jana has nominated outside of Crawford, they added.

Shares in Labcorp rose as much as 3.5% Tuesday, reversing earlier losses. They were trading at $251.41 apiece at 12:11 p.m. in New York, giving the company a market value of about $24.5 billion.

Jana disclosed a stake in Labcorp earlier this month that is valued at about $195 million.

A representative for Jana declined to comment. Crawford couldn’t be reached for comment. A representative for Labcorp wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Jana has not said publicly what changes it may be seeking at Labcorp. Brian Tanquilut, an analyst with Jefferies Financial Group Inc., speculated last week that the arrival of an activist might prompt Labcorp to launch a strategic review of its Covance clinical research division. The higher-growth Covance business could be worth $285 a share, or about 20% higher than Labcorp as a whole trades, he said in a note to clients on Feb. 17.

Jana and Crawford, the former chairman of CVS Caremark, have a history of working together. Crawford was one of Jana’s nominees appointed to the board of TeamHealth Holdings Inc. in 2016. The company was subsequently sold later that year to the Blackstone Group Inc.

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