Bloomin' Brands, Jana Partners agree to nominate two new directors

(Reuters) - Bloomin' Brands Inc BLMN.O and Jana Partners said on Thursday they have agreed to add two new independent directors to the Outback Steakhouse owner's board, months after the activist hedge fund pushed for changes due to struggling restaurant sales.

Scott Ostfeld, a partner and portfolio manager at Jana, and John Gainor, a corporate director with experience in the casual dining market, have been nominated, the companies said in a joint statement.

Bloomin’ Brands board will now consist of ten directors.

The New York-based hedge fund owns about a 9% stake in Bloomin’ Brands, making it the third biggest shareholder, according to Refinitiv data.

Last year Jana, one of the industry’s most powerful activist hedge funds, said it planned to discuss strategic alternatives with Bloomin’ Brands management that could include a sale of the company or spinning off pieces.

Adding to the pressure, Jana had proposed to nominate several directors at Bloomin’ Brands in February.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel