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Breakingviews: Red Lobster tale

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014 - 03:42

Feb. 25 - Richard Beales and Jeffrey Goldfarb break down the activist-investor pincer movement over eatery spinoffs at Darden Restaurants.

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So that settled -- -- -- get pretty messy as messy as trying to eat -- Lopes say in this case a red lobster. -- this is -- restaurants throughout and to spin off the slow growing red lobster business that it has and it's run into some criticism from settled. Does -- have one activist covered in regard to capital say -- really ought to give rubio separate the slow growing business recommend. Faster growing restaurants which is is sort of fashionable things to do things that the company even makes yeah that's the company went ahead like you know what -- and off red lobster are gonna keep all garden in the state seems altogether it. And other actors came along so great rest of us noted. Have -- right. We gave her spinning off just red lobster is completely the wrong idea. And so what they -- -- the wave of they're trying to stop from happening is that one -- it the whole idea of the spinoff put to a vote. And so which basically which isn't caught it does not -- right now so what they're trying to do is very. Tortured sort of process. First fifty get shareholders to vote. To have a special meeting and any 50% of so this -- -- chose yes there having him meet member to have the meeting that they would have a vote. Ought to tell the word -- don't don't spin it off unless. You put the whole idea -- to another road. Relevant ads that -- devoted about the timing of it would be in non binding for correcting derisive but it would be really not for the politics no right. Then you hear the big question mark is not whether strategically. Darden should be putting all of gardening red lobster together. -- anybody could probably argue that that way yeah for a short minutes the whole bunch of analytical financial stuff that would you can make here the other bit. -- the real point here is how much. Democracy do we want in the in the shareholders. Right now it's it's you know physically represented in government. You elect board yet oddly enough votes on you know certain measures. If you don't like that the board's doing and -- -- you're you're you know -- -- that the next -- immediately this democratic states did so there's been because we have. The out and all of these activists and a lot of capital for him in fact the investment funds. They've been pushing the envelope a little bit and last year we saw Ralph Whitworth predict activists that -- relational. Successfully get on the ballot the idea the company should break itself up. And it was not binding and non binding this sort of analysts saying forcing us into -- decision on onto the -- the management rather leaving into the right. So now this kind of takes it this red lobster recent exit -- -- -- a I was for further they're more ideas on hey. Other construct -- so. You know. But the problem the question in my mind is really a -- is giving too much democracy in general that this and I think we direct representation. I think you you know I would normally say that in terms of it ultimately direct and -- governance and that was the only things that simple that seldom do this out who also. I mean it this is an easy question to votes of that is is there a line that can easily be drawn with what looks to probably isn't because start media spent a special situation where there really is. You know value destruction happening you know me made it means shelves really do need to step in and stop this thing and not wait for the next election cycle support. But on the whole you don't wanna see too much of that going on because you insiders have knowledge that outsiders don't. You know there's just a lot of reasons he -- to sweep CEOs and board members from wanting to serve if there every. Decision's going to be second guessed by a bullet so there's a lot of reasons why going down this path too far it could be problem that can't believe that thanks Jeff. Will -- activism in general big thing this year and we'll have more breaking news for you tomorrow.

Breakingviews: Red Lobster tale

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014 - 03:42

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