Posted by Dale Buss on July 29, 2014 03:50 PM
Darden Restaurants is waving a white flag in front of activist investors such as Starboard Value, but it doesn’t appear to be big enough. The investment groups that are down on Darden still want to dismember it.
Darden CEO Clarence Otis said yesterday that he will step down at the end of the year, and the company invited opposing investors to fill as many as three of the company’s 12 board seats by saying it will nominate only nine directors at the next annual meeting. Previously, Darden jettisoned its Red Lobster chain, a deal that was finalized earlier this week, and has accelerated its ongoing overhaul of Olive Garden restaurants.
Nope, still not enough. “Significant change is required in the Darden boardroom,” said James A. Mitarotonda, CEO of another activist group, Barington Capital. Starboard called Darden’s moves “a token change.”Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 23, 2014 09:18 AM
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Posted by Dale Buss on May 16, 2014 02:46 PM
Darden Restaurants finally has sold Red Lobster, for $2.1 billion, to a private-equity firm. But nobody seems happy with when or how it happened, or the result, and the brand’s future under the ownership of Golden Gate Capital remains far from a sure thing.
The problems that led to Darden’s decision to unload Red Lobster—while keeping for now its other restaurant brands including Olive Garden—began with a deterioration in the brand over a period of several years tied in large part to a tendency to over-discount.
“We think we’ve gotten out of balance in terms of having a few too many discounts," Darden CEO Clarence Otis told investors in a recent conference call. "An important part of the Red Lobster brand is, for a lot of guests, it is a special-occasion experience and we want to make sure that we continue to deliver on that and we aren’t pushing those guests out with too much of a focus on the discounting side.”
Same-store sales for Red Lobster had declined in seven of the past eight quarters, only part of which could be attributed to the overall tough environment for fast-casual restaurants as they struggle with a sluggish economy and more upscale incursions by quick-serve chains. And, noted Bloomberg, “The brand … had limited growth potential because many of its customers are elderly and don’t go out to socialize often.”Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 16, 2014 09:13 AM
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CBS unveils plans for 24-hour digital news channel.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 7, 2014 09:12 AM
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Coca-Cola lifts lid on agency bonuses for cutting-edge work and drops "You're On..." tagline for Diet Coke.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2014 05:41 PM
Darden Restaurants executives have launched a new logo and menu changes at Olive Garden that, they proclaimed, will lead to a "brand renaissance" for the chain as they're rolled out.
But activist investors Barington Capital Group says: Don't bother. They believe Darden should be selling Olive Garden as well as the Red Lobster chain that both they and the company agree should be separated. It feels that Darden should fully focus on its specialty unit that includes rising chains Capital Grille, LongHorn Steakhouse and Yard House to help overcome financial doldrums for the company that have continued for several years.
Darden CEO Clarence Otis made the case to investors this week that he and his executive team can revive a slumping Olive Garden chain at the same time that they bid adieu to Red Lobster, whose customer base has become increasingly promotion-oriented. Olive Garden will get fresh attention instead of the boot.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2014 09:22 AM
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Darden defends Red Lobster spinoff plan amid investor resistance.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on December 19, 2013 01:45 PM
The restaurant business remains tough, and so it didn't take long for Darden to say "uncle" to an activist investor who believed that the best path for the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains was to spin them off into a separate company while clustering its faster-growing startup concepts in another.
Darden met Barington Capital Group halfway on Thursday by declaring that it will jettison Red Lobster and take other steps. It'll hold a tax-free spinoff of the seafood brand to shareholders or it might sell Red Lobster in a move aimed at boosting lagging shareholder value and profitability.
"As consumer demand dynamics have changed, Red Lobster's priorities and operating support requirements have come to differ meaningfully from those of Darden's other brands," the company said.Continue reading...