Freshpet tumbles as Jana Partners calls company's capital raise plan 'ill-conceived'

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March 15 (Reuters) - Shares of Freshpet Inc fell as much as 19% on Wednesday after activist investment firm Jana Partners LLC said the pet food maker's recent plan to raise capital was "ill-conceived".

Freshpet on Tuesday had announced its intention to offer privately $350 million of convertible senior notes due 2028, which the company will use for general purposes. Shares of the company fell about 8% in after-market trade following the news.

"We are astonished that Freshpet's board has elected to initiate a large equity-linked capital raise in a fragile market reeling from a systemic crisis in the banking system," said Jana Partners in a statement.

The New York-based Jana Partners, which disclosed a nearly 10% stake in Freshpet in September, also added the company "requires either significant board change, or in the absence of such change, should be sold".

Freshpet did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Earlier in December, the activist investment firm had said it plans to launch a proxy fight with the company and run for board seats, according to a regulatory filing.

(Reporting by Granth Vanaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)