Agrium defiant as top investor moves to shake up board

CALGARY — Agrium Inc. was defiant Monday as its largest shareholder, New York hedge fund Jana Partners LLC, demanded five new directors be added to the Canadian agriculture giant’s board.The company (TSX:AGU) dismissed Jana Partners LLC’s latest move as “almost certain to fail” and vowed to stick with its current strategy.The nominees Jana is proposing include the fund’s founder Barry Rosenstein and former Liberal agriculture minister Lyle Vanclief. Also on the slate are three men with the executive experience in retail and distribution that Jana says is lacking.“Agrium’s board has had every opportunity to respond constructively to our analysis and instead simply attempted to avoid the issues,” Rosenstein said in a statement announcing the board challenge.Among other things, Jana wants Agrium to spin off its retail business, which supplies farmers with fertilizers, seeds and other products, from the part of its business that produces fertilizer.In a statement, Agrium CEO Mike Wilson said the board’s independent directors spent two months evaluating Jana’s ideas with its independent financial adviser, Morgan Stanley, before unanimously deciding the retail spinoff was a bad idea.“The facts are straightforward. Agrium remains committed to its highly successful integrated strategy,” Wilson said.“Jana has been trying for over six months to obtain support for its idea that Agrium should spin off or sell its retail operations. Agrium’s shareholders have overwhelmingly rejected Jana’s ideas. As a result, we believe Jana’s attempt to run its own slate for Agrium’s board is almost certain to fail.”A source familiar with Jana’s thinking said the fund has not decided which of Agrium’s 11 board members it’s looking to replace, but it will probably “lean heavily” on the group Agrium has previously cited as having adequate distribution experience.Most of Jana’s nominees are American and it wants to make sure enough Canadians remain on the board, “so you can also assume that Americans will probably be more targeted heavily,” the source said.When it comes to replacing Wilson as CEO, the source said Jana hasn’t “gone there” and “that would obviously be a significant escalation.”In its more than decade-long history, all of Jana’s campaigns have been resolved with management before coming to a shareholder vote.“Maybe this will be the first,” the source said. “We’ll see.”Jana has said the retail spinoff, and a better focus on cost management and capital allocation, could add $50 to Agrium’s share price.Recently Agrium has bumped up its dividend and bought back $900 million in stock — moves Jana has applauded.Jana’s statement on Monday accused the current Agrium board of failing to address it’s criticism. It also accused Agrium of failing to keep shareholders informed — particularly about the weakness of its third-quarter financial results, which generally missed analyst expectations.Besides Vanclief and Rosenstein, Jana is proposing David Bullock — a former chief operating officer of United Agri Products, which was acquired by Agrium several years ago; Stephen Clark, a former CEO of Brenntag North America, and Mitchell Jacobson, chairman and a shareholder of MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc. (NYSE:MSM).Agrium shares rose about two per cent to $99.95 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. read more

Karen Danczuks brother handed 15 years for sexually assaulting her and two

first_imgMs Danczuk, who waived her anonymity, previously told The Sun that he had sneaked into her bedroom climbed into bed with her when she was a child.“I would always pretend to be asleep and lie with my back to him, facing the wall. I was terrified and confused but I didn’t know what else to do,” she said.”It started out like it was a game, it was not so much an attack, it was, like, innocent.“Now I’ve got children of my own that makes me feel sick. I was living in a hell-hole — there was no love in my house. It wasn’t a normal household.”She told a jury she was regularly molested in the family home between the ages of six or seven until she was 15 or 16 by Michael Burke.She told the court: “Most people remember their first time having sex with somebody they love.”Whereas my first time of having sex was with my brother. It’s horrible. Even now I can’t sleep naked. I can’t even cuddle in bed.”I will never love properly, I will never be able to let someone in. It’s horrible.” Michael Burke, 38, the brother of Karen Danczuk Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Karen Danczuk, the former Labour councillor During the three-week trial, the mother-of-two told the court her brother abused her at the family home in Middleton, near Rochdale, from the age of six or seven – progressing to rape when she was aged 11 – until she was in her mid-teens.Burke denied 15 counts of rape, one attempted rape and one indecent assault against his sister and two other women, spanning an 18-year period from 1992 to 2010.But the jury found him guilty of eight counts of rape and another serious sexual offence against the three women, including three counts of rape against his sister, when she was aged between nine and 11 and he between 14 and 16. Michael Burke, 38, the brother of Karen DanczukCredit:GMP Karen Danczuk’s rapist brother was today jailed for 15 years for a series of sex assaults on her and two other victims.Michael Burke, 38, the brother of the estranged wife of Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk, shook his head and threw up his hands today as he stood in the dock and was sentenced following a trial last month at Manchester Crown Court.His sister later waived her right to anonymity as a victim of sexual offences to brand her brother a “monster” who had “robbed me of my childhood” and made her suicidal. He was cleared of nine other serious sexual offences. The two other women have not waived their right to anonymity and cannot be identified.Mrs Danczuk told the jury the abuse had ruined her schooling, left her incapable of love and intimacy and that she struggles with depression and anxiety.Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Gilbart said: “She was your little sister, over whom you held sway.”Your actions affected her emotionally well into adulthood. As she put it, instead of looking back on her first sexual experience as something to be remembered fondly, she looked back on being raped by her brother before she reached puberty.”You groomed her. Your little sister was your playmate and susceptible to anything you suggested. You have shown not a shred of remorse.” Karen Danczuk, the former Labour councillorCredit: Andrew Crowleylast_img read more