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Darden Receives Notice From Starboard Regarding Special Meeting Of Shareholders

ORLANDO, Fla., April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) announced today that Starboard Value LP and its affiliates ("Starboard") has provided notice that Starboard is delivering to Darden the written requests it has received from Darden shareholders in connection with Starboard's request for a Special Meeting of Darden shareholders.  At the Special Meeting, Starboard has indicated it intends to submit to shareholders a non-binding proposal urging the Board not to approve any agreement or proposed transaction involving a separation or spin-off of the Company's Red Lobster business prior to the 2014 Annual Meeting unless such agreement or transaction would require shareholder approval.

The Company stated:

Over the past months, members of Darden's Board and management team have been engaging in extensive discussion with shareholders and the investment community. In the course of these conversations, shareholders have told us that while they may support the calling of a Special Meeting, they have not decided on how they will vote at the meeting itself. These ongoing conversations are providing us with important insights regarding our shareholders' views about the Company and our strategic direction, and are enabling us to respond to questions in a nuanced manner. 

Given the value of this direct engagement, Darden expects to continue these conversations with shareholders and will address the Special Meeting request as appropriate.  We continue to believe that the plans we have announced, including pursuing parallel paths for the separation of Red Lobster through a sale or spin-off of the business, best position the Company for long-term value creation and are in the best interest of Darden shareholders.

In accordance with customary practice, an independent inspector, IVS Associates, Inc., will review the written requests submitted by Starboard.  Darden expects to report the results of the inspector's review on a Current Report on Form 8-K promptly following final certification.

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