Barington Capital's Moves on Dillard's Hint at Coming Proxy Fight

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 3, 2008 7:57 am  

At first, James Mitarotonda, the CEO of Barington Capital Group LP of New York, asked nicely for Dillard's Inc. to change its management.

In a June 28 letter, Mitarotonda asked Dillard's CEO William Dillard for a meeting to discuss several ways to improve the company, including better merchandising and unlocking the value of Dillard's real estate portfolio.

But Dillard didn't even return a call to Mitarotonda, whose firm represents a group of investors who own more than 5.3 percent of the outstanding Class A common stock of the Little Rock retailer.

Barington's history suggests a proxy fight is coming, an analyst says. "Barington Capital is an experienced player in this field. They've been doing this for a while now, and I think they know the drill. First you sort of agitate and then you ... threaten a proxy fight."

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