Grocery chain Supervalu pressured by activist investor to sell stores

from the aftermath of Amazon buying Whole Foods, Minnesota-based grocery chain Supervalu is usually facing escalating pressure through an activist investor.

Blackwells Capital, which owns a little less than 4 percent of Supervalu’s common stock along with is usually one of the company’s 10 largest shareholders, issued a letter Thursday morning calling out a “lack of clear steps” at the

Jason Aintabi, a managing partner at Blackwells, said he’s especially “frustrated” with Supervalu’s dismal share performance of late. Ten years ago, the grocer’s stock was trading above $320 a share. On Wednesday, shares closed below $16 apiece, along with are down more than 50 percent in 2017.

“We take seriously all input through our shareholders,” a spokesman through Supervalu told CNBC in a statement. “As we have publicly stated, we continue to evaluate along with execute on various initiatives as part of our efforts to transform Supervalu along with create value for our shareholders.”

Blackwells said that will’s been attracted to Superavlu because of the chain’s vast real estate holdings, which include stores along with distribution centers. Aintabi has urged the company to “change direction along with guide management” to a better strategic plan.

The four initiatives Blackwells has suggested Supervalu consider include selling some of the grocer’s more than 17 million square feet of owned real estate, which is usually “worth multiples of the current capitalization of the Company,” according to Aintabi.

The activist investor is usually asking Supervalu to sell roughly 30 percent of its stores, along with to use the remaining locations for completing tasks like home delivery along with meal prep.

Further, Blackwells wants a “refresh” of leadership with grocery expertise, a dividend paid to shareholders, along using a share buyback plan.

“Supervalu’s leadership has demonstrated a willingness to take in order to unlock value along with position the Company for ongoing success,” Aintabi wrote.

“In an industry under pressure, Supervalu has tremendous structural advantages along with an opportunity to define, along with act upon, a corporate strategy that will can create long-term shareholder value,” he added. “Without active along with immediate change, we believe the opportunity will be lost along with shareholders will continue to pay the cost.”

Blackwells is usually seeking to immediately meet with Supervalu’s board along with discuss its proposal.

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