Ackman’s possible impact on Target after proxy battle
Even for well-run companies, it’s the era of shareholders in revolt. With corporate leaders on the hot seat over pay and bonuses, and their performance under intense scrutiny from angry taxpayers and stockholders, even companies far removed from the banking sector and Wall Street have been at least marginally swept up in a populist tide of anger over the cost of the federal bailout of the private sector and a seemingly endless series of mind-numbing missteps by banking and investment titans.
That still-mounting backlash is stinging corporate directors in all manner of industries, including (presumably) the retail sector. And it could cast proxy battles in a new light, strengthening the hand of such outsiders as Bill Ackman, who want to shake things up and challenge the status quo.
By the same token, the current negative image many Americans and shareholders have of corporate leaders and boards of directors may also weaken Target’s case for reinstalling the same slate of directors now running the company, when those board members are up for re-election May 28.
Ironically, Ackman has expressed a high regard for the way Target has been managed, calling it at one point “probably the best retailer in the world.” And like most corporate raiders and shareholder activists, his goal in waging a proxy fight for control of the retail giant is simple: to squeeze more value out of the company’s individual components and jack up the company’s overall worth – and, in the process, its stock price.
If Ackman is ultimately successful in gaining representation on Target’s board, he’ll no doubt push for such immediate changes as a drive to capitalize on the company’s real estate holdings with sale-leaseback deals, or some other leveraging arrangement. Given his lack of retail experience, Ackman’s impact on Target’s ongoing store operations or merchandising programs is far less clear.
It’s doubtful, even now, that Ackman and his firm, Pershing Square, will get their wish. Most large companies remain well insulated against these kinds of proxy battles, controlling a vast number of voting shares and allying with powerful outside stockholder groups well in advance of any shareholders’ vote on directors. Nevertheless, Ackman controls a big block of Target’s stock, and he’s tapping into a still-rising tide of investor anger and restlessness.
In the long run, that tide could upend some of corporate America’s most carefully laid plans for succession.
We’ll all stay tuned.
Diabetes Alert Day on March 24
ALEXANDRIA, Va. The American Diabetes Association is sponsoring its 21st Annual American Diabetes Alert Day next week on March 24. The Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day, “wake-up” call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association encourages people to take the Diabetes Risk Test and find out if they, or their loved ones, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Already, 23.6 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and nearly one-quarter of those do not know they have it. One in five Americans is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
For many, diagnosis may come seven to ten years after the onset of the disease. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.
Everyone should be aware of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight, under active (living a sedentary lifestyle), and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease. African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and people who have a family history of the disease are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
On Diabetes Alert Day, the American Diabetes Association will “Sound the Alert” about the dangers of diabetes. To help people better recognize their own risk for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association encourages the public to take the Diabetes Risk Test which requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for diabetes. The Diabetes Risk Test shows users whether they are at low, moderate, or high risk for diabetes. If they are at high risk, they are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their healthcare provider.
Rite Aid helps Americans breathe easier during allergy season
CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology are again teaming up to help those affected find the best treatments for their symptoms.
As part of its annual focus on allergy, Rite Aid will be distributing a 12-page color Allergy Health Guide beginning March 29 at www.riteaid.com and in Rite Aid stores. Included in the reference: the tell-tale differences between allergies and the common cold or flu, both of which are still spreading in an unusually late season; potential complications of such untreated allergies as acute or chronic sinusitis; common treatments for allergies based on symptoms, a brief explanation of how they work and a breakdown of allergy products available at Rite Aid; nonseasonal allergies, such as pet dander, mold or dustmites; detailed instructions on how to reduce allergens within the home; information on reactions to nickel, latex and other nonbiological triggers; information on other breathing disorders, including asthma and exercise-induced asthma; and the possible connection between asthma and weight management.
Customers who spend $20 or more on select allergy-related products will receive a $5 to $25 Rite Aid Gift Card, depending on the amount of purchase, in the mail through Rite Aid’s Single Check Rebate Program. Products must be purchased between March 29 and May 30, when the program ends.
Rite Aid’s focus on allergy awareness is part of its yearlong commitment to health and wellness. Each year Rite Aid offers free information, answers and education on health and wellness topics including skin care, oral health, diabetes, weight management and heart health.