Canadian global organic food operator SunOpta Inc. (NASDAQ: STKL) (TSX: SOY) said it hired investment bank Rothschild Inc., supported by legal advisors Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, to evaluate a complete range of strategic options.

The company said that although “now is not the right time to commence an outright sale of the company,” it has maintained an ongoing dialogue with its largest shareholders, adding that “Recently, management and some members of the board of directors met directly with many of the company’s largest shareholders, including Tourbillon Capital Partners.”

SunOpta shares closed down 1.44% at US$4.10, giving the company a total market value of US$350.59 million.

The company has been under pressure lately from activist investor Tourbillon Capital Partners LP, SunOpta’s largest shareholder with a 9.9% stake. The New York-based hedge fund was founded in 2013 by Wharton graduate Jason H. Karp, a former alumnus of billionaire hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen of SAC Capital, now known as Point72 Asset Management.

Tourbillon’s Karp reportedly learned at SAC that the single most important variable to screen prospective traders and analysts for, is something called “openness to change,” meaning how well they’re able to quickly change their mind when presented with conflicting information.

Karp reportedly said that openness to change combined with grit, “in our business we call it resilience,” those are the two key factors, according to The Wall Street Journal. He’s also said to like to hire people who have had a spectacular failure in their life and have persevered.

Jason H. Karp, ‎CEO and CIO at Tourbillon Capital Partners

Jason H. Karp, ‎CEO and CIO at Tourbillon Capital Partners

“We are responding to our shareholders and taking the necessary steps to review SunOpta’s strategic opportunities and improve the company’s operational performance to create value for all shareholders,” SunOpta chairman Alan Murray said.

SunOpta is a leading global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified (non-GMO) and specialty foods, with about 1,800 global employees. The company specializes in the sourcing, processing and packaging of organic and non-GMO food products, integrated from seed through packaged products, with a focus on strategic vertically integrated business models.

The company’s organic and non-GMO food operations revolve around value-added grain-, seed-, fruit- and vegetable-based product offerings, supported by a global sourcing and supply infrastructure.



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