Activist Investor Claims It Ousted Half Of ShopHQ’s Board
Although the shareholder votes at ValueVision Media’s annual meeting—which was held Wednesday—have not been finalized, activist investor Clinton Group claims four of its nominees have received enough votes to join the company’s board of directors.
Eden Prairie-based ValueVision, which brands itself as “ShopHQ” and sells everything from jewelry to consumer electronics to beauty treatments on its website and television channel, said it expects to announce the final election results in the next few business, days and a company representative declined to comment on Clinton’s most recent claims.
ValueVision and Clinton have butted heads publicly since last fall, when the New York-based investment group proposed that ValueVision replace CEO Keith Stewart, along with the majority of the company’s directors and board members, who Clinton alleges are mismanaging the company and causing it to “dramatically under-perform” its rivals.
ValueVision has adamantly denied such allegations and said that it fully supports its management team. During its most recent fiscal year, which ended in February 1, the company generated $640.5 million in revenue but saw a loss of $2.5 million.
On Wednesday, Clinton announced that shareholders “expressed overwhelming support for change in the composition of the board of directors.” Its claim was based solely on preliminary vote tallies and hasn’t been confirmed.
“According to our analysis of the votes that were cast, we believe that every institutional investor, mutual fund, hedge fund and other professional investment organization, save one, among ValueVision’s top 25 owners, voted for change this year,” Clinton President Gregory Taxin said in a statement. “We are pleased that four of our nominees received support from more than 70 percent of the shares voted by public shareholders and were elected to the board.”
Ahead of Wednesday’s shareholders meeting, Clinton took yet another jab at ValueVision, calling on the company to assure its vendors and employees that they can exercise their voting rights without “fear or reprisal.” Clinton claims to have heard from “multiple employees and vendors” that are “afraid to vote their shares for us because they fear management will retaliate against them.”
A ValueVision representative also declined to comment on that claim, although the company has given no indication that those who vote in favor of Clinton Group nominees would be treated any differently than those who don’t.