retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal writes that a proxy fight at Supervalu as an activist investor pushes the company to change its board of directors and move the company out of the retail business.

According to the story, “Blackwells Capital, a New York firm that now owns about 4.3 percent of the company, has nominated six candidates for seats on Supervalu’s nine-member board of directors.

“Blackwells has privately pressed Supervalu for months to shift away from retail stores and bring in new leadership. It requested three board seats last month and pushed a plan to split Supervalu into separate companies and possibly seek a buyer. Supervalu rejected the plan.

“The company responded Thursday morning saying the nominations were unfair to shareholders and that the increase to six board nominations is a sign that Blackwells ‘effectively seeks control of the company.’ Supervalu argued that a shakeup of the board is not necessary.”

As part of is resistance, the story says, Supervalu and its CEO, Mark Gross, have “announced two acquisitions of regional grocery distributors in the past year and closed or sold off retail stores, including most of its Farm Fresh operations earlier this year and its Save-a-Lot chain in 2016. Gross has also said that the company plans to hold onto remaining retail chains like Cub Foods and would put some of the proceeds from the Save-a-Lot sale into improving its stores.”
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