Proxy Fight: Jana Partners, Atlas Tries to Stop EQT/Rice Deal

So-called “activist investor” (i.e. corporate raider) Jana Partners, in league with the Cohen family (Atlas Energy) has started a proxy fight and is trying to block EQT’s takover/merger with Rice Energy. Jana is the same company that recently helped Amazon buy Whole Foods. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday (embedded below), Jana disclosed the company has purchased ~5% of EQT’s stock and is launching an effort to block EQT’s proposed buyout of Rice Energy (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). As a quick reminder, here’s what corporate raiders (aka “activist investors”) do: They buy up enough stock in a company to control board decisions, getting several of their own people appointed to the board of directors. Typically corporate raiders will collude with another large stockholder or two to accomplish a board coup d’état. The corporate raider then forces the target company to sell off assets and layoff people. The resulting company is, they claim, “healthier” and more streamlined. The stock price bumps up, the raider sells its stock, pocketing a nice profit. And then moves on to the next target. Meanwhile, good people are standing in the unemployment line, in the wake of the raider’s “improvements.” There is nothing moral or righteous or just about the actions of corporate raiders. It is immoral, unjust and disgusting. In the words of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, Jana are “greedy bastards.” That about sums it up. It’s distressing to see the Cohen clan collude in this kind of behavior. They should stick to their own knitting. Maybe if they had, their own company (Atlas Energy) wouldn’t have gone bankrupt (see Atlas Resource Partners Filing for Bankruptcy Tomorrow). Here’s the developing story of the effort to derail EQT’s deal with Rice Energy, and force EQT to break itself into pieces…

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