As the heated battle between Darden Restaurants and hedge fund Starboard Value comes to a head, an Olive Garden employee representing the restaurant’s workers spoke exclusively to BuzzFeed News about what life at the chain is really like. “There are things that need to change.”
The activist hedge fund grabbing headlines recently for its engagement with Olive Garden took a “significant” stake in Yahoo and sent a letter to CEO Marissa Mayer encouraging her to consider a possible merger with AOL.
One of two leading leading proxy advisory firms has recommended shareholders of Olive Garden parent Darden replace the entire board with activist hedge fund Starboard Value’s slate of 12 nominees. The news comes as Starboard is preparing to meet with Darden employees who have threatened direct action ahead of next month’s annual shareholder meeting.
A petition started by an Olive Garden employee to force Darden and Starboard Value to listen to workers’ concerns over layoffs and wages has gathered nearly 7,000 signatures.
Starboard Value’s meticulously detailed takedown of Olive Garden, which claims the restaurants gives away too many free breadsticks, overuses salad dressing, and doesn’t salt the water before cooking its pasta, made it to Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.
Four days after an activist hedge fund released an eviscerating analysis on the state of Olive Garden restaurants, claiming it was giving away too many breadsticks and doesn’t salt the water before cooking its pasta, among other things, parent company Darden responds.
Boatloads of breadsticks, too much salad dressing, false wait times, excessively long asparagus, and other grievances of an activist hedge fund gunning for change at the pasta powerhouse.
The parent company of Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and other fast casual dining chains delayed its annual shareholder meeting amid allegations it was giving different information out to different classes of investors regarding the sale of Red Lobster. Activist investor Starboard Capital isn’t happy with the move.
A lame duck CEO, a swift sale of Red Lobster without shareholder approval, and two hedge funds out for the entire board should make the Darden annual meeting in Orlando next month quite the spectacle. So. Much. Drama.
Darden Restaurants announced late Monday that CEO Clarence Otis will be stepping down after 10 years with the fast casual dining giant. His departure follows the company’s sale of Red Lobster to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital.
Darden says its sale last month of the seafood restaurant chain for $2.1 billion was full and fair. Activist investors say it was a scorched earth tactic meant to save the jobs of executives. A showdown is set for the company’s annual meeting later this year.
Barington Capital announced its support of a shareholder vote to kill the “fire sale” of Red Lobster to the private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. “Blatant disregard for shareholder interest.”
The claim comes in a new presentation by Starboard Value obtained by BuzzFeed and expected to be made public Tuesday morning.
The company said in an earnings call Friday morning that the quarter was “challenging,” especially at Red Lobster, which the company is trying to spin off. Darden’s CEO also urged shareholders to communicate with the company instead of holding a special vote on the spin-off or sale that an activist hedge fund has been fighting for in recent months.
Darden Restaurants reports earnings tomorrow, and another weak report could be enough to move shareholders to side with an activist hedge fund that is trying to stop the company from spinning off its chain of Red Lobster restaurants.
Starboard Value has gone on a hiring and purchasing spree to help with its battle to keep Olive Garden and Red Lobster under one corporate umbrella. How far will they go to keep the chains together?
Some of Wall Street’s top companies have come under fire from investors fed up with their current management and financial performance and agitating for change. Call it the golden age of the activist.