Activist Investor Jana Set to Nominate Two to TreeHouse Foods Board
(Bloomberg) -- Activist investor Jana Partners is prepared to nominate at least two directors to the board of TreeHouse Foods Inc. as the company continues its strategic review, according to people familiar with the matter.
The New York-based investment firm, which owns a 9.4% stake in the company, has lined up two potential director nominees, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.
The nominees include former TreeHouse executive Chris Sliva, who was also chief executive officer of AdvancePierre Foods Holdings Inc., which was sold to Tyson Foods Inc. in 2017. The other nominee is Wendy Beck, the former chief financial officer of Domino’s Pizza Inc., they said.
A representative for TreeHouse didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Jana declined to comment.
Jana first took a stake in TreeHouse in February and urged the company to launch a strategic review, including exploring a sale. The firm believed that there might be several potential buyers for TreeHouse, Bloomberg News reported.
The parties reached an agreement in March that included two new directors being appointed to the board. That cooperation agreement expired Dec. 15.
TreeHouse, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, said in November that it would launch a review, including exploring the sale of a significant portion of its meal-prep unit in order to focus on the higher-growth snacking and beverage business.
The company’s shares, which had fallen about 5% since immediately before Jana disclosed its stake, rose as much as 2.8% Thursday. They were trading at $40.65 at 1:45 p.m. in New York, giving the company a market value of about $2.3 billion.
Jana, founded by Barry Rosenstein, has a long history of pushing for consolidation in the consumer space, including agitating at Whole Foods Market Inc. before it was sold to Amazon.com Inc. in 2017. It also pushed for the sale of Pinnacle Foods Inc., PetSmart and Safeway Inc. before they were sold.
Private label businesses, like TreeHouse, make food and beverages for grocery stores to sell under their own brands. TreeHouse’s products range from cookies and crackers to frozen waffles and coffee, according to its website.
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