Spartan Shareholder Wants to Sell
By George Anderson
Spartan Stores brought Craig Sturken in to run the grocery wholesaler/retailer in 2003 to get its struggling business turned around. By most accounts, Mr. Sturken and his team at Spartan have been successful.
Perhaps that explains why the company’s largest investor, the New York investment firm of Loeb Partners Corp., thinks now is the time to sell.
Loeb, according to a report in The Grand Rapids Press, has nominated members to Spartan’s board of directors. The intent is to change the company’s bylaws to enable it to submit a proposal to sell “to the best and highest bidder.”
Jeanne Norcross, Spartan’s vice president of communications, said the company was aware of Loeb’s actions but SEC regulations prevented any comment at this time.
Donald Wierenga, senior financial consultant for Centennial Securities Co., said a proxy fight was all but guaranteed now that Loeb has made its intentions public.
“This will take some of management’s time as they deal with lawyers and litigation to defend themselves. Performance could suffer as a result, but I personally feel that if Spartan gives up control, this will only be the first shoe to drop,” he added.
Moderator’s Comment: Where does Spartan management go from here? Will Loeb’s strong desire to sell have an impact (positive or negative) on Spartan’s
It’s selling time in retail land and we know this is “just business” as far as Loeb is concerned
but talk about a morale killer. –
George Anderson – Moderator