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Starboard Value Sends Letters To Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) Shareholders; Reduces Position in DSP Group, Inc. (DSPG)

In a couple of new filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Starboard Value LP, managed by Jeffrey Smith, has revealed a letter it sent to the shareholders of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI), and cutting its exposure to DSP Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:DSPG).  Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants, while DSP Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:DSPG) is engaged in providing wireless chipset solutions for converged communications.

Jeff Smith

In the letter to the shareholders of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI), Starboard states that it is not satisfied with the current management and board of directors of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI), and urged the shareholders to vote on the WHITE proxy card to support the election of the fund’s nominated directors for the company’s board.

Starboard holds approximately 8.8% of the outstanding common stock of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI). The fund states in the letter that now it is time for substantial change at the company, and believes that the board should be reconstituted so that a new and highly capable board can dramatically improve the leadership and operational results at Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI).

Showing unhappiness on the company’s performance, Starboard states that it believes the current board has displayed an alarming lack of leadership and has presided over an extended period of poor stock price performance, poor operating performance, and poor corporate governance. Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI), despite brands like Olive Garden, LongHorn, The Capital Grille, Yard House, Bahama Breeze, Season’s 52, and Eddie V’s, has performed terribly under the oversight of the current management team and board.

Further, Starboard adds that it has carefully selected a group of 12 world-class director nominees with diverse and complementary skill sets and perspectives directly relevant to the company’s business and current challenges. The fund requested the shareholders to support its director nominees at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders in October.

Recently, Starboard issued a letter in response to Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)’s announcement that the company nominated a new slate of candidates to be elected to its board of directors at the upcoming annual meeting of shareholders.

In a separate filing with the SEC, Starboard has reported reducing its stake in DSP Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:DSPG). According to the filing, the fund holds 1.35 million shares of the company, down from 1.64 million shares held previously. The stake amasses 6.1% of common stock outstanding.

DSP Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:DSPG) has a market cap of $198.1 million, and shares of the company traded down by 0.45% to $8.94 on Friday. Other hedge funds betting big on DSP Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:DSPG) include Raging Capital Management, led by William C. Martin, which holds 1.22 million shares, and Rima Senvest Management, run by Richard Mashaal, which owns 993,319 shares of the company, our record shows.

Disclosure: none

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