March 19 Darden Restaurants Inc on Wednesday urged shareholders to reject activist investor Starboard Value LP's efforts to call a special shareholder meeting to discuss the company's plan to spin off its Red Lobster chain.
Starboard, which owns 5.5 percent of Darden shares, said in late February that the plan to spin off Red Lobster should be delayed and put to a shareholder vote. Last week Starboard approached shareholders to suggest a special meeting about Red Lobster.
"Darden believes that shareholders should be fully aware of their right and ability to express their views to the Company regarding the Red Lobster separation, and any other matters, directly, rather than by means of a special meeting," the company said in a proxy.
Darden is the biggest U.S. operator of full-service restaurant chains as measured in outlets. It also operates the Olive Garden and Capital Grille chains. (Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)