Jana Partners picks up stake in Ashland, shares rise

Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:24pm EDT
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April 11 (Reuters) - Activist hedge fund Jana Partners LLC, known for its battle with Agrium Inc, picked up a 7.4 percent stake in Ashland Inc and said the chemicals maker's stock was "undervalued."

Shares of Covington, Kentucky-based Ashland were up 6 percent in extended trading. They closed at $78.83 on Thursday.

Jana Partners said Ashland's current value represents "an attractive investment opportunity," according to a regulatory filing. ()

The stake helped Jana Partners become the second-largest shareholder of Ashland after Fidelity Management and Research Co, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The hedge fund said it had discussions with Ashland's management relating to its business, corporate structure, capitalization, operations, strategy and future plans.

Barry Rosenstein's Jana Partners is known for its attempts to break up fertilizer company Agrium, an effort that failed on Tuesday with Agrium winning a clean sweep in a board election.