(Adds details from Jana's letter)
July 5 (Reuters) - Jana Partners LLC on Wednesday detailed its criticism of natural gas producer EQT Corp's plan to buy Rice Energy Inc, laying out its argument as to why the hedge fund believes an EQT break-up would be better for shareholders than the pending $6.7 billion deal.
Activist investor Jana said in a letter to its board of directors that an immediate separation of EQT's midstream pipeline business would create as much as $4.5 billion in shareholder value.
In its analysis, Jana questioned the logic of the deal and said EQT shareholders would be giving away $1 billion in shareholder value.
Jana said it paid $497.2 million to amass its 5.8 percent stake, which was first disclosed on Monday.
"A Rice acquisition would result in EQT paying away more than the value of the transaction synergies, the majority of which are questionable..." said Jana's letter, which was disclosed in a securities filing on Wednesday and signed by founder and managing partner, Barry Rosenstein. (Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Grant McCool)