Activist Investor Oasis Doubles Stake Before Premier Foods Showdown

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Premier Foods investor Oasis Management has nearly doubled its share stake in the company ahead of a shareholder meeting next week at which it and a second major shareholder have called for the removal of Chief Executive Gavin Darby.

Oasis Investments Master Fund II raised its holding in the Oxo stock cubes maker to 17.30 percent from 9.09 percent, according to the regulatory filing.

The fund, Premier’s second biggest shareholder, has been actively campaigning to remove Darby and has urged all shareholders to vote against the chief executive’s re-election at the company’s annual meeting next week.

U.S. hedge fund Paulson & Co, which has a 6 percent stake in Premier, on Monday joined it in calling for Darby to step down.

The company has come under fire since rejecting a takeover bid from U.S. spice maker McCormick & Company Inc two years ago.

However, influential shareholder advisory firms ISS, Glass Lewis and Pensions & Investment Research Consultants have all advised shareholders to reelect Darby. Premier’s board has repeatedly said that it backs Darby.

Premier said last week that the board remained unanimous that Darby was the best person to implement its agreed strategy, which “is clearly working”. (Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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