Prentice Capital, unhappy with the Bebe Stores Inc. board’s handling of the company, now wants to take its campaign to other stockholders.
Prentice, which owns 5.55 percent of Bebe stock, has not been quiet about its dissatisfaction with the struggling retailer. The Connecticut-based investment firm, founded by Michael Zimmerman, has expressed concern in letters to the board filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission about the company’s declining business.
The latest letter from an attorney for Prentice, filed with the SEC today, requests records of the company’s stockholders so that the firm can communicate with those investors.
Prentice goes on to say it “is extremely dissatisfied with the board of directors’ continued failure to pursue and publicly announce the implementation of any actions whatsoever to address the dramatic and continuing erosion of stockholder value in the past 18 months. Indeed, the board and Bebe’s controlling stockholder are, quite casually it seems, overseeing the inevitable insolvency of Bebe and the possible elimination of all stockholder value. This is unconscionable.”
Bebe is currently headed by chief executive officer Manny Mashouf, who is also the retailer’s largest shareholder. Mashouf returned to Bebe in February following the exits of former ceo Jim Wiggett and chief financial officer Liyuan Woo, who were attempting to lead a turnaround at Bebe.
The letter filed today also reiterated past comments made by Prentice about the company’s duty to explore all alternatives, including a merger or sales of which “the duties of the board and Bebe’s controlling stockholder is not to blindly reject such alternative” if they are so presented with one.
A spokeswoman for Bebe could not be immediately reached for comment.
The company’s stock was trading up about 3 percent in midday trading to a market capitalization of $44.88 million. The share price has remained roughly flat since the start of the year.