- SpartanNash announced it has defeated a group of activist investors led by Macellum Advisors and Ancora Holdings Group in their bid to replace three members of the company’s board of directors, including Chairman Douglas Hacker, with nominees of their own, according to preliminary voting results.
- During SpartanNash’s annual meeting Thursday morning, shareholders re-elected the board’s nine members “with a substantial margin,” rejecting the nominees put forth by the activist investors. SpartanNash said it will file a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the final voting results from the meeting.
- “Today's outcome reinforces that SpartanNash shareholders recognize that the Company's strategy is working, and the Company has the right Board in place to continue guiding the business forward,” SpartanNash said in the announcement.
The decision by SpartanNash shareholders to spurn Macellum and Ancora’s effort to remake its board follows a concerted campaign the grocer mounted to convince investors it does not need outside intervention.
SpartanNash was able to convince its shareholders to reject the activists’ argument that the company lacks “any clear strategy for value creation” and needs new boardroom leadership to change its course.
The grocer argued in an April 18 letter to shareholders that Macellum and Ancora’s attack on its leadership was misguided and reflected a “short-term focused, predetermined agenda.” It also added that the activists did not understand its business. Electing the investors’ slate of nominees to the board would “distract the Company from its current path, which is clearly producing demonstrable results and outsized shareholder returns,” SpartanNash warned.
As part of its effort to repel Macellum and Ancora, SpartanNash created a website where it laid out its case for rejecting the newly elected board members. The grocer pointed out that it has overhauled its executive team since 2020, replacing its CEO and bringing on a host of other senior leaders. SpartanNash also said Macellum stymied its effort to engage with the investors and reach a settlement.
Earlier this month, SpartanNash reported a same-store sales increase of 7.2% for the first quarter of 2022 and said adjusted earnings per share were up 41% compared with the same period last year.
“We’re very pleased with the continued momentum of our performance, which is a direct reflection on the actions we’ve taken across our business. We believe our strategy provides a clear path for long-term growth and increased shareholder value,” SpartanNash President and CEO Tony Sarsam said during the company’s earnings call, without directly referring to the pressure the company was facing from Macellum and Ancora.