May 21 Activist investor Starboard Value LP,
which didn't want Darden Restaurants Inc to sell the Red
Lobster seafood chain, is launching a fight to take over the
Darden board, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people
familiar with the matter.
The sale of the struggling seafood chain was a catalyst for
Starboard seeking to take over the entire board, the report
In response, a Darden spokesman said in an emailed statement
that the board "will consider the Starboard nominations in due
course" and it is focused on creating value for all
Darden said on May 16 it would sell Red Lobster to private
equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion in cash. It
said the sale was not subject to shareholder approval and should
close in the quarter ending in August.
Starboard, which owns about 5.5 percent of Darden's
outstanding shares, successfully led a shareholder effort to
force Darden to agree to hold a special meeting and vote on the
Red Lobster divestiture plan. However, the meeting has not yet
been set by Darden and some shareholders are concerned the deal
will close before investors can weigh in.
Darden said it would file a preliminary proxy statement
later this month for the special meeting and to convene it "as
promptly as practicable."
Starboard Chief Executive Jeffrey Smith said last week the
sale woefully undervalued Red Lobster and its real estate
Starboard was not immediately available for comment outside
regular U.S. business hours.
(Reporting by Arnab Sen and Aurindom Mukherjee in Bangalore;
Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)