A struggle over the direction of Buffalo Wild Wings intensified this week when an activist shareholder publicly accused management of refusing to consult with investors on such matters as composition of the board.
The shareholder, Marcato Capital Management, issued a letter to CEO Sally Smith and BWW’s other directors about its requests for help in contacting fellow shareholders. The communication accused the chain’s management of trying to block contact with other investors, and asked the board to halt the alleged obstruction.
“We are troubled by the lengths to which management has gone,” wrote Marcato principal Mick McGuire.
He also blasted the board for naming three new directors to BWW’s board “unilaterally and without consultation with the company’s shareholders.
“These new appointments were clearly intended to create the false impression of meaningful change,” wrote McGuire.
Marcato, which holds a 5.2% stake in BWW, is demanding that the company bring in fresh decision-makers and change its processes for fostering and managing change. It has also called on current management to end the company’s experimentation with two fast-casual brands, PizzaRev and R Taco.
Marcato is known as a strident investor that often pushes for changes in its portfolio companies. A frequent tactic of activist investors is enlisting the support of fellow shareholders for strategic and tactical changes.