World News

Activist investors in Big Lots look to shake up board

(Reuters) – Two activist investors on Friday announced an 11% stake in Big Lots Inc <BIG.N> and said were looking to replace the retailer’s entire board, aiming to sell some of the company’s real estate to buy back shares and pay down debt.

Investors Macellum Advisors GP LLC and Ancora Advisors LLC said they had nominated nine people, including former Big Lots Chief Executive Steven Fishman to the company’s board. The retailer, which sells everything from food to furniture, currently has eight board members.

The investors collectively are the third largest stakeholder, according to Refinitiv data.

“The Company has been hampered by a Board that lacks relevant skill sets, has pursued a poor capital allocation strategy, and rejected credible offers to monetize Big Lot’s real estate assets,” the pair said in a joint statement.

Big Lots said it has had multiple talks with Macellum and Ancora in recent weeks and will review the investors’ board nominees.

The company also said it was evaluating opportunities to sell real estate, such as distribution centers, and cut its 2020 capital expenditure to between $160 million and $170 million from $200 million.

Last year, Macellum and Ancora pressured Bed Bath & Beyond Inc <BBBY.O> to replace long-time Chief Executive Officer Steven Temares and looked to shake up that company’s board as well.

Temares later stepped down.

Big Lots’ shares, which have lost nearly half their value over the last 12 months, were up 7.4%.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)