Corp Raider Jana Partners Admits Defeat Ahead of EQT/Rice Vote

The guy who runs the investment firm Jana Partners, Barry Rosenstein, is a corporate raider. He invests millions in a company he’s targeted in order to get one or two people elected to the board of directors. Those people then agitate and force the company to lay off hundreds or thousands of employees, and sell off assets, in a bid to make the stock price jump. When the price does jump, corporate raiders like Rosenstein then sell their shares, making a profit on the new/higher price (buy low sell high). It may be legal, but we consider it immoral. In June, EQT, one of the biggest drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, announced a deal to buyout and merge in Rice Energy, another sizable M-U driller (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). A few weeks later Jana targeted EQT in an attempt to stop the deal (see Proxy Fight: Jana Partners, Atlas Tries to Stop EQT/Rice Deal). Jana believes it could make a whole lot more money if the deal doesn’t go through, and instead if EQT splits itself in two–one half a drilling company, the other half a pipeline company (firing a bunch of people along the way). So Jana went on a smear campaign, making all sorts of wild accusations against EQT, including calling EQT management’s compensation structure “perverse,” and accusing the company of using “deceptive” maps of EQT and Rice acreage positions (see Corp Raider Continues to Trash Talk EQT/Rice Merger, Vote Set Nov 9). All the trash-talking and bullying didn’t worked. The deal will happen–this week–and Jana is now officially throwing in the towel. They will still vote against the deal with their shares, but they have withdrawn their proxy fight to enlist enough other shares to vote down the deal…

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