Activist hedge fund wants PetSmart to weigh sale

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By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of PetSmart Inc. jumped Thursday after an activist hedge fund reported a stake in the pet food retailer and said it wants PetSmart to consider selling itself.

New York-based Jana Partners disclosed Thursday in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has a 9.9 percent stake in PetSmart, making it the company's biggest shareholder.

Jana said it plans to talk to the retailer's board about changes such as making moves to improve its performance or possibly selling the company.

PetSmart said in a statement that it "welcomes open communications with its shareholders and values constructive input toward the goal of enhancing shareholder value."

Shares of Phoenix-based PetSmart rose $7.28, or 12.2 percent, to $67.08 in afternoon trading Thursday. Its stock had dropped about 18 percent in 2014.

The company reported disappointing revenue in the first quarter due to increasing competition and lower consumer spending. To boost sales, PetSmart has been adding more pet grooming services and fresh pet food. It has more than more than 1,340 stores around the country.

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