Retailers

SpartanNash, Activist Investors Clash as Claims of Potential Buyers Surface

Retailer says it 'has not received any offers to buy the company'; Macellum, Ancora seek settlement
SpartanNash
Photograph: Shutterstock

In response to an investor group’s claims “that there are parties interested in acquiring all or part of SpartanNash,” the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer and distributor said in a release May 2 that it “has not received any offers to buy the company, nor has it been approached directly by any strategic or financial buyer to acquire the company” since 2021.

“Although it is our policy not to comment on market rumors or speculation, we feel it is important to set the record straight,” SpartanNash added.

Tensions have flared between SpartanNash and the investor group—comprised of Macellum Advisors and Ancora Holdings Group—over the past couple of months as the investor group is seeking to replace SpartanNash's current board chairman and two other directors with the group's own slate of candidates.

In response, SpartanNash issued a letter dated April 28 to shareholders urging them to vote for its nominees and earlier in April, it launched a website summarizing organizational changes and rebutting the activist investor board challenge.

Now, Macellum Advisors and Ancora Holdings Group have expressed interest in forming a settlement “in light of multiple national media outlets reporting that there are parties interested in acquiring all or part of SpartanNash, and our belief that there are several other buyers willing to engage should a process commence,” the investor group said in a May 2 release.

“We believe the board should immediately form a special committee of independent directors to evaluate strategic alternatives that can maximize value for shareholders. Our interactions with other investors suggest there is significant support for this logical step,” the investor group said. “That is why we recently contacted Chairman Doug Hacker and CEO Tony Sarsam in hopes of aligning on a settlement that can immediately support efforts to review all paths to value creation.”

In its release issued the same day, SpartanNash said these latest claims “is just another part of their recycled playbook that they have attempted to use at apparel, discount and department store retailers.”

“The investor group’s sudden interest in aligning on a settlement appears to be more tactical than it is genuine given they did not respond to the email from our chair of the board before they issued their press release this morning,” SpartanNash said. “As we have previously noted, SpartanNash has attempted to reach a constructive resolution with Macellum on multiple occasions and our offers were rejected outright.”

SpartanNash included its email from Hacker to Jonathan Duskin, CEO of Macellum, in its release. In it, Hacker writes, “If you have had conversations with credible parties that would be interested in a transaction, we encourage you to have them reach out to us directly—as would be typical for the situation. I can assure you that the board will act promptly and appropriately to assess the attractiveness and credibility of any such outreach.

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