Dec 17 Barington Capital Group, an investor
pushing for change at Darden Restaurants Inc, on Tuesday
released its detailed plan for improving the parent of the Olive
Garden and Red Lobster chains.
The report comes after Barington's financial advisor,
Houlihan Lokey, reviewed the recommendations.
New York-based Barington, which represents a shareholder
group that owns a stake of more than 2 percent in Darden, said
in its report that the company might be worth $71 to $80 per
share. That would be as much as 73 percent more than its closing
price on Oct. 8, before Barington's stake was reported.
Shares of Darden were up 1.2 percent at $52.93 in early
The company, which manages eight restaurant brands, has
become too large and complex to compete effectively with its
rivals, Barington has said previously.
Barington recommends that Darden split into two companies
-one for Olive Garden and Red Lobster, and the other for its
higher-growth brands, including LongHorn Steakhouse, Capital
Grille, Yard House and Bahama Breeze.
The activist investor also recommends that Darden explore
creating a publicly traded real estate investment trust.
Barington said it would share its recommendations with
Darden Chief Executive Officer Clarence Otis.
"We are pleased with the results of Houlihan Lokey's
independent analysis of our recommendations," said Barington CEO
James Mitarotonda. "Their work not only confirms the
opportunities we identified to improve long-term shareholder
value at Darden, it also adds practical strategies to execute
our recommendations and mitigate implementation costs."