TreeHouse Foods to Explore Sale After Pressure From Activist Jana
(Bloomberg) -- TreeHouse Foods Inc. will explore a possible sale after activist investor Jana Partners pressured the maker of private-label grocery items to consider strategic alternatives.
The company is also weighing the divestiture of a “significant portion” of its meal-prep unit in order to focus on the higher-growth snacking and beverage business, TreeHouse said in a statement Monday. There’s no timetable for the moves and no guarantee that any transaction will take place, the company said.
TreeHouse is looking to boost shareholder value after underperforming the market recently, even as demand for packaged food jumped during the pandemic. Its shares fell 16% this year through Friday, while the Russell 2000 Index gained 23%.
Jana earlier this year called on the company to explore its options, including a possible sale, and nominated several directors to the board. Two of the firm’s candidates were appointed. Jana has become one of TreeHouse’s largest investors, with a stake of more than 9% as of August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
TreeHouse said Monday that the strategic review comes after “engagement with many of our shareholders over the past year,” without identifying the investors. The company retained Evercore Inc. as its financial adviser.
After a brief spike when the market opened, TreeHouse shares rose less than 1% to $36.26 at 9:51 a.m. in New York. Separately, TreeHouse on Monday cut its profit forecast for the year and reported third-quarter adjusted earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.
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