Olive Garden parent company Darden faces board takeover from activist investor

MarketsAssociated Press

Olive Garden's parent company Darden Restaurants could lose control of its board at its annual meeting Friday.

Activist investor Starboard Value is seeking to replace Darden's board with its own slate of nominees.

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Last month, Starboard issued a 294-page presentation detailing its criticisms of Darden's management, including Olive Garden's failure to salt its pasta water. Starboard also took issue with how Darden handled its sale of Red Lobster earlier this year.

Darden Restaurants Inc., based in Orlando, Florida, has already said it will cede four of its 12 board seats to Starboard. But Starboard wants all the seats.

Sara Senatore, a Bernstein analyst, said it seems likely Starboard will at least get a majority of the seats, with two large advisory firms backing the firm's push.