January 6, 2012 / 11:10 PM / 7 years ago

Biglari increases stake in Cracker Barrel

(Reuters) - Activist investor Sardar Biglari, involved in a public spat with the management of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc (CBRL.O), raised his stake in the restaurant chain to 11.8 percent from 9.9 percent, according to a regulatory filing.

In December, Cracker Barrel’s shareholders blocked Biglari’s move to put himself on the board, by electing all eleven nominees of the company “by a significant margin,” but they also refused to approve the management’s rights plan.

Biglari has criticized the company’s reporting norms, hauled up the management for operational issues such as the lack of growth in customer traffic for seven years and the company’s strategy to increase menu prices during the recession.

The investor has also alleged that the Cracker Barrel board failed to realize the company’s potential and that it lacks “accountability, transparency, and stock ownership.”

Biglari operates Cracker Barrel’s rival restaurant chains Steak n Shake and Western Sizzlin through Biglari Holdings (BH.N).

Along with associate Lion Fund LP, Biglari Holdings now has about 2.7 million Cracker Barrel shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cracker Barrel shares closed at $51.08 on Friday on the Nasdaq.

Reporting by Mihir Dalal in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das

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