Barington Capital Group on Friday wanted to set the record straight before the July 4th holiday weekend got under way.
The activist firm, which is in the midst of a proxy fight with Chico’s FAS Inc., put together a presentation of its own, following a similar presentation from Chico’s on June 21. The latest missive from Barington is its second in the same week. Last Friday, Chico’s sent a volley of its own, followed by a second one this week. In total, the two parties have each gone back and forth twice, resulting in four outreaches to investors within the same week, or five since June 21.
Barington’s presentation noted its track record in working with underperforming retail and apparel firms and reiterated its concept of a comprehensive plan to improve the retailer’s operations.
It noted that Barington’s chairman and chief executive officer, James A. Mitarotonda, is currently serving as a director on four boards — A. Schulman Inc., OMNOVA Solutions Inc., Barington/Hilco Acquisition Corp. and The Eastern Co. — and would resign one of those directorships if elected to the Chico’s board.
A representative for Chico’s said that many of the changes initiated so far, including cost cutting measures and corporate governance enhancements, are the result of changes by Shelley Broader, the retailer’s chief executive officer, and not Barington as the activist investor has suggested. The company also said that replacing any of the board’s director nominees “with either of Barington’s candidates would leave us without relevant and current skills and experience that we believe is critical to supporting continued success under our new plan.”
Barington began its proxy fight on May 24. So far it’s still not angling for a sale of the company, nor for a management change. Whether its gets a shot for seats at the board table will be determined when shareholders vote at the company’s annual meeting on July 21.