NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Blackwells Capital LLC (together with its affiliates, “Blackwells Capital” or “Blackwells”), an alternative investment management firm with an approximate 7.3% ownership interest in Supervalu Inc. (NYSE: SVU) (“Supervalu” or the “Company”), today announced it has filed preliminary proxy materials to elect six highly qualified candidates to Supervalu’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) at the upcoming 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the “Annual Meeting”).
Over the last decade, Supervalu’s share price has declined 92%, reflecting the loss of over $5.4 billion for its shareholders. Over the same period, the Russell 2000 Consumer Staples Index has risen 134%. Blackwells believes this (stark) juxtaposition is symptomatic of an ensconced Board that lacks the requisite experience to oversee a winning strategy. Further, owning just 0.53% of the Company’s shares, the Board has de minimis alignment with shareholders.
We believe it is time for change.
Blackwells has nominated six outstanding professionals to serve on the Board in place of incumbent directors. These nominees are grocery, wholesaling, logistics and food service veterans, including former chief executive officers and chief financial officers of industry-leading companies. Collectively, the nominees have more than 220 years of combined leadership, strategic and operational experience.
Blackwells remains confident that the right strategy, coupled with an engaged and experienced board to oversee it, will allow Supervalu stock to appreciate to at least $45 per share, the target price identified in its February 6, 2018, public presentation. (This detailed analysis of Supervalu’s opportunities and strategy, assets and potential value is available to all shareholders at www.savesupervalu.com.)
Jason Aintabi, Managing Partner at Blackwells Capital, said, “Supervalu has a powerful foundation upon which to evolve grocery wholesaling, and the distribution and logistics capabilities that power it. It also has opportunities to review strategic alternatives that can substantially accelerate its ability to unlock shareholder value. However, with the share price still trading near six-year lows, the Company’s half measures – enacted in response to shareholder pressure – and a constant sense of reaction rather than pioneering, it is clear that Supervalu’s Board is a pressure point the market will continue to exploit.”
Added Aintabi, “To support this view, shareholders need only look to the Board’s delay in scheduling the Annual Meeting: the earliest record date that the Board could now set is at least six weeks behind any record date over the last 15 years. To neglect basic duties, conceivably in an effort to buy time and deflect legitimate shareholder pressures, is unambiguous entrenchment. Worse, it’s emblematic of reactionary and uninspired leadership.”
In its preliminary proxy statement, Blackwells has also submitted a proposal for shareholder approval at the Annual Meeting for Supervalu to provide more robust disclosures concerning the use of its private jet, particularly by non-employees and for non-business purposes. In the face of billions of dollars of lost shareholder value, it is appropriate to inquire about corporate waste. To date, Supervalu has refused to provide information about the use of the private jet by the family members of the executives and directors and the use of the jet for non-business purposes.
Aintabi concluded, “Supervalu is one of the most cheaply valued of all consumer staples public companies despite significant, tangible advantages, especially in relation to its direct competitors. Blackwells is confident that, with a clear mandate, an ethos of excellence and a track record of responsible stewardship, the nominees it has submitted for shareholder consideration will confer proper leadership such that the Company’s value in the market will reflect its significant assets and industry-dominating potential. Supervalu shareholders require a higher standard of director to achieve this, and we now have the opportunity for exactly that.”
About Blackwells Capital
Blackwells Capital is an alternative investment manager dedicated to global fundamental and special situation investing across capital structures. Founded in 2016 by Jason Aintabi, its Managing Partner, Blackwells’ investment approach is research-intensive, value-oriented and concentrated.