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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Activist Starboard takes 5.6 percent Darden stake, plans push for change-source, (NYSE: DRI)

Activist investor Starboard Value LP has taken a 5.6 percent stake in Darden Restaurants Inc , which it plans to disclose in a regulatory filing Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation. The purchase of the stake, worth about $374 million according to Darden's market value at the close of trading on Friday, means Starboard will become the second activist investor within months to push for a change in strategy as the Orlando, Florida-based company seeks cost cuts to stem a fall in profit.The investment firm's filing comes just days after Darden, which owns the Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse chains, announced plans to spin off its Red Lobster restaurant business.In its filing, Starboard will state that it does not believe spinning off Red Lobster is enough to benefit shareholders, according to the person familiar with the situation. Instead, Starboard wants Darden to first create a real estate investment trust (REIT) for its property holdings.Then the firm wants Darden to combine its Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse businesses into one company, while grouping the rest of its faster-growing chains in another, according to the person, who wished to remain anonymous because of the confidentiality of the situation.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. is a full service restaurant company. Shares of DRI traded higher by 0.14% or $0.07/share to $51.09. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $44.11 and as high as $55.25. On average, 2092980 shares of DRI exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 4304989.