Activist Jana Partners Boosts Ashland Stake
Jana Partners-Ashland: Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH), today, went up in the equity portfolio of activist hedge fund, Jana Partners, managed by Barry Rosenstein. In a 13D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jana Partners disclosed ownership of over 6.5 million shares of Ashland, purchased at an aggregate price of $518.2 million. In comparison with the latest 13F filing, Jana Partners added around 781,300 shares.
In addition to Jana Partners, which currently owns 8.4% of Ashland and is the largest individual shareholder, Ken Griffin's Citadel Investment Group, Gates Capital Management, managed by Jeffrey Gates, and Mario Gabelli's Gamco Investors are all bullish on the chemical company.
For the third quarter of its fiscal year, Ashland declared that its EPS declined on a year-over-year basis. The EPS from net income fell to $1.55, from $1.90 in the third quarter of the previous fiscal year. EPS from continuing operations declined to $1.47, from previous year's amount of $2.00.
Looking into the Jana Partners-Ashland situation a bit deeper, it's worth mentioning that the hedge fund made another big buy earlier this week in Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY), directly mentioning in the filing that it's looking for shareholder value stimulation.
A second reason this move intrigues us is because Ashland was the primary bullish thesis of Daniel W. Lawrence of Elmrox Investment Group at this week's Value Investing Congress. We covered Donald Yacktman's presentation earlier this week, and we thought it'd be useful to share Mr. Lawrence's with you. His thoughts on Ashland are centered around the idea of "long-term shareholder value creation." It's evident Jana feels the same way. Take a look below: