Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out Barnes & Noble’s victory at its annual meeting.
Shareholders of the U.S. bookseller had to choose between dissident investor Ron Burkle and Chairman Len Riggio as a bitter proxy battle between the chain’s top two stakeholders came to a head.
And the winner of the “gunfight” was Barnes & Noble, whose slate of directors won election.
Burkle, whose Yucaipa Cos owns 18.8 percent of Barnes & Noble shares, had been on a slate of three nominees seeking seats on the board, including the one held by Riggio, the man who built the chain into the largest U.S. specialty bookseller and the company’s largest shareholder with a 28.2 percent stake. Three of the nine board seats were up for a vote.
Burkle also asked shareholders to modify an anti-takeover “poison pill” that Barnes & Noble put into place last year after Burkle doubled his stake. Burkle had accused Riggio of running the company for his personal benefit and leaving it saddled with debt and ill-prepared for the shift to electronic books.
Looking for beauty advice? Try an annual meeting.
At Friday’s Estee Lauder Cos Inc event, a female shareholder asked management why one of the company’s long-lasting lipsticks is dry.
“I personally don’t use long last lipstick,” Executive Chairman William Lauder joked.
To get to the heart of the matter, he called upon Clinique President Lynne Greene, who said she loves wearing the lipstick in question. The dryness of the lipstick actually helps give the benefit of lasting long, she said.
William Ackman had already lost the battle to seat his slate of director nominees on the Target board last month, but the retailer released the final vote totals and the activist shareholder came up far short in trying to win investor support, garnering 19 percent of the votes cast. That topped the tally for three of his other four nominees.
The hedge fund director, whose Pershing Square Capital Management had a 7.8 percent stake in Target when votes were cast, launched his proxy contest in March to seat a slate of five director nominees after Target refused his proposal to spin off land under its stores into a real estate investment trust to boost its stock price.