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ValueAct urges Seven & i Holdings to listen, consider strategic alternatives -Breaking


© Reuters.

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON (Reuters) – ValueAct Capital is urging Seven & i Holdings, the Japanese owner of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, to listen to shareholders’ concerns and form a committee to consider strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

ValueAct has made a rare public statement expressing concerns about shareholder frustration following the split of the company by several investors.

The U.S. based investment firm wrote to Seven & i Holdings’ board to say it must quickly pursue “bold, structural reform”. The company was called “strategically inefficient” by the board. It also stated that it has “vastly underperforming its potential.”

ValueAct owns 4.4% and said that it has made two requests to board members.

One or more external directors are invited to contact 30 portfolio managers of major investors so that they can “listen to their viewpoints.”

It also wants to see the creation of a Strategic Review Committee, consisting of outside directors. This committee will examine whether “sale of spin-off divisions or business combinations with third parties would provide superior value and strategic advantages to the company” and all its stakeholders.

ValueAct requested that the public respond to the board’s next scheduled meeting in early January, so it can put more pressure on them.

ValueAct published its letter to shareholders at a time when shareholder dissatisfaction with the stock’s slow price is growing.

This is a rare step by ValueAct, which has for decades built a reputation of working with management rather than dictating terms publically like many activist investors.

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