Pet-food maker Freshpet appoints activist investor’s director nominee to board

(Reuters) – Pet food company Freshpet Inc said on Monday it has reached an agreement with Jana Partners and appointed Timothy McLevish, one of the activist investor’s director nominees, to its board.

The agreement draws to a close a proxy fight with Jana Partners after it disclosed a nearly 10% stake in Freshpet in September and urged the company to consider selling itself.

Shares of Freshpet, which have more than doubled since September last year, were up about 1% in early trade on Monday. As of last close, its market capitalization was $3.82 billion.

Along with McLevish, Freshpet said it had also appointed Joseph Scalzo to its board of directors. Scalzo, who began his career at Procter & Gamble, would sit on the operations oversight committee of the board.

McLevish, who was appointed to the audit committee of the board, has been in the role of chief finance officer at five public companies, including Walgreens Boots Alliance and Kraft Foods Group.

Jana in June had filed a complaint in the court of Chancery of the State of Delaware against Freshpet and the company’s board of directors, arguing that it should have the opportunity to nominate four directors to the board at its annual meeting this year.

Upon reaching the agreement, Freshpet said Jana agreed to withdraw its other director nominations it had previously submitted to the company.

Jana would also be subject to standstill restrictions such as owning more than 12.5% of Freshpet’s outstanding common stock. As of August, Jana had a 7.5% stake in Freshpet, down from 9.2% in June.

(Reporting by Juveria Tabassum in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)