An activist investor has a nearly 10% stake in Freshpet Inc. and plans to push the pet-food company to make changes to boost its stock price and explore a sale, according to people familiar with the matter.
Jana Partners LLC believes Freshpet
could be an attractive target for larger competitors in the sector that have shown an appetite for deals in recent years, the people said. It also wants the company to consider other changes such as operational and capital-allocation improvements.
The activist hedge fund has recruited former Kraft Foods Chief Financial Officer Timothy McLevish, as well as Diane Dietz, who was chief executive of skincare-product maker Rodan & Fields, and ex-Jarden Corp. Chief Executive James Lillie for help with the campaign, the people said.
Two former professional athletes — basketball star Dwyane Wade and baseball star CC Sabathia — are serving as special advisers, they said.
“While we have not yet spoken to JANA, we welcome new investors in Freshpet and look forward to hearing their perspectives,” Freshpet said in a statement.
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