Tue Aug 14, 2012 07:01 AM CDT

(Dow Jones) -- A hedge fund that has shaken up large players from Marathon Petroleum Corp. to McGraw-Hill Cos. has found its next target: Agrium Inc., a $15 billion Canadian fertilizer company.

Activist investor Jana Partners LLC has picked up a large stake in Agrium, increasing pressure on the company to cut costs and spin off its retail-distribution arm, people familiar with the discussions said.

Jana, which was founded in 2001, has had a string of recent successes in urging companies to focus on a few core business areas. Earlier this year, Marathon Petroleum said it would explore spinning off ...

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