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SpartanNash prevails over Macellum in proxy fight

Illustration of a hand placing a ballot in a box surrounded by abstract shapes.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

SpartanNash beat back a challenge from activist investors Macellum Capital Management and Ancora, with the grocery operator convincing investors to install its full slate of board nominees, the company said, citing preliminary results.

Why it matters: Thursday's result could undermine Macellum and Ancora's push to have SpartanNash evaluate a sale-leaseback and to form a special committee to explore strategic alternatives.

Details: Macellum and Ancora filed a definitive proxy statement on April 19, nominating three candidates to the target's board.

  • The two leading proxy advisory firms split their endorsements, with Institutional Shareholder Services recommending two of Macellum and Ancora's nominees and Glass Lewis supporting SpartanNash's slate.
  • Note that the food distributor was reported in late April to have attracted acquisition interest from United Natural Foods and Oak Street Real Estate Capital.

Flashback: SpartanNash's stock jumped on June 2 when it reported that net sales increased 4% year over year in the first quarter to nearly $2.8 billion, but have subsequently retreated and are down 3% Thursday morning.

  • Net earnings of about $19 million for the period also beat expectations, while adjusted EBITDA increased approximately 18% to nearly $77 million.
  • Comparable store sales, an indicator of a retailer's health, were up 7.2%.
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