Jana Partners LLC is accusing Agrium Inc. (TSX: T.AGU, Stock Forum) (NYSE: AGU, Stock Forum) of making in appropriate payments to win shareholder support, raising the volume in a proxy battle that will come to a head next week when Agrium holds its annual meeting.
Specifically, the New York hedge fund, which owns 7.5% of Agrium, said it has obtained non published documents which show that Agrium is paying dealers to persuade their retail clients to vote for Agrium’s slate instead of Jana’s nominees.
Agrium is paying 25 cents a share for each share voted in favor of Agrium nominees, Jana said. The minimum payment is $100 and the maximum is $1,500, but such so-called solicitation fees won’t be paid unless all of Agrium’s nominees are elected, Jana said in a press release
Agrium has responded that the payments were appropriate.
Agrium has also said Jana is seeking to break up Agrium and implement other ideas that Agrium has demonstrated would destroy shareholder value.
Trading at $96.49 on Monday, Agrium has a market cap of $14.4 billion, based on 149.4 million shares outstanding. The 52-week range is $115.31 and $74.28.