NEW ALBANY, Ohio, July 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bob Evans Farms, Inc., (Nasdaq:BOBE) discussed today the clear choice about the future of the Company to be faced by its stockholders at the Bob Evans 2014 Annual Meeting. In a letter mailed to the Company's stockholders, Bob Evans Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven Davis and Lead Independent Director Michael Gasser, on behalf of the Board of Directors, urged stockholders to elect the nominees recommended by the Board. They said that the Board's slate of "open-minded, highly qualified and independent nominees will continue to 1) execute a growth strategy built on a recently completed two-year transformational investment program, 2) build on its track record of returning capital to stockholders and 3) consider other strategic opportunities to benefit stockholders."
The letter said that, "Alternatively, you could hand control of your Board over to a slate of eight nominees proposed by Sandell Asset Management Corp., which has demanded, among other things, 1) the sale and leaseback of a significant portion of Bob Evans' restaurants; 2) the sale or spinoff of Bob Evans Foods; and 3) the rapid repurchase of an additional $350 million or more of Bob Evans stock—actions which, in our view, would seriously jeopardize sustainable stockholder value."
Messrs. Davis and Gasser stated that, "While we believe that Sandell Asset Management, which reportedly managed approximately $7.5 billion in assets at its peak but only approximately $1 billion as of 2013, may need to press Sandell's agenda at Bob Evans to further its own business purposes, we do not believe this should come at the expense of the best interests of Bob Evans' stockholders."They further stated that, "Your Board believes that Bob Evans Farms is well-positioned for strong profit growth and value creation and that it is critical to 1) maintain strategic control of the Company's valuable real estate; 2) continue to realize the opportunities for growth, brand and operating synergies available to us with a combined Bob Evans Restaurants and Foods; and 3) continue the Company's controlled and disciplined approach to return capital to stockholders, which has resulted in the return of more than $800 million to stockholders since 2007 in dividends and share repurchases."