March 17, 2015 Okapi Discusses the Importance of Retail Votes in Proxy Contests in

Retail Campaigning: Why Mom and Pop Make a Difference in Proxy Fights

NEW YORK (The Deal) — This past October, Starboard Value founder Jeffrey Smith scored a landslide victory at restaurant-chain owner Darden Restaurants (DRI – Get Report), overturning the company’s entire board.

Key to that bitterly fought proxy fight was not only persuading institutional investors to back Starboard’s board nominees, but also winning the support the retail investors who represented fully one-third of Darden’s investor base.

“I would not dismiss the retail viewpoint and support,” said Bruce Goldfarb, CEO of proxy solicitor Okapi Partners, who worked with Starboard on the fund’s Darden campaign. “Many of these investors are also customers that care about the brand.”

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