Darden delays shareholder meeting to give holders time to review documents

MarketsAssociated Press

Olive Garden's parent company Darden Restaurants said it is postponing its annual meeting to give shareholders enough time to review its proxy materials.

Darden, which is based in Orlando, Florida, said the Securities and Exchange Commission is still reviewing its proxy statements but that definitive materials should be distributed to shareholders soon. The company said the meeting will be Oct. 10, instead of the previous date of Sept. 30.

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The restaurant operator, which also owns The Capital Grille, LongHorn Steakhouse and Seasons 52, had come under fire over its failure to improve results at Olive Garden and Red Lobster, and then its subsequent decision to sell Red Lobster. Activist investors Barington Capital and Starboard Value had wanted the breakup structured differently.

After the sale of Red Lobster closed last month, Darden said CEO Clarence Otis would step down after 10 years at the helm. The company had said it expects to nominate nine of its independent directors for its board, meaning at least three Starboard nominees would be elected. But Darden said it failed to reach an agreement with Starboard over the investment firm's pending proxy contest.