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

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."

Click here to read this week's full cover story on Barington Capital and Dillard's. (Access is free.)