Deckers Outdoor Corp. (DECK) shareholders on Thursday voted to reject activist investor Mick McGuire's minority-slate of director candidates, bringing to a definitive conclusion the insurgent manager's 10-month old insurgency campaign seeking to have the UGG maker sell itself.
Deckers shares dropped by about 4% to $75.49 a share on the news.
In preliminary results issued Thursday, Deckers said the results reaffirm that the company is on the right track. "We remain focused on continuing our strategic transformation as we optimize our retail strategy," Deckers said in a statement.
In a statement, McGuire said he is pleased to have served as a positive change agent and "believe our involvement has created significant value for all stockholders. However, a lot of work is still required in order for Deckers to reach its full potential."
Deckers shares rose significantly over the course of McGuire's campaign. In addition, the company agreed to bring in two new directors by its 2018 annual meeting, under pressure from the insurgent manager. Also, Angel Martinez, the ex-CEO, resigned from the board after McGuire had criticized his run for mayor of Santa Barbara, Calif., as a distraction from his Deckers duties.
The result emerged almost a year after McGuire launched a campaign at Deckers with an activist 13D filing in February suggesting that the company should consider a sale of itself or of some of its assets. Other activist-type funds subsequently accumulated stakes in Deckers, including Red Mountain Capital Partners LLC, and agitated for a sale as well. By September, McGuire took the unusual step of seeking control of the entire company's board with ten director candidates.
But by October, it began to look like McGuire's goal to see a sale of the whole business wasn't in the cards. Deckers announced that it had contacted 90 potential buyers but was not able to find a buyer. Faced with a failed auction McGuire appeared to reduce expectations, saying on CNBC that he saw opportunities in spinning off some Deckers brands, such as Teva and Sanuk, if a full sale didn't happen.
Now with a total loss of his campaign, a sale of those brands seems unlikely.
Earlier this month, McGuire significantly scaled back his proxy war, by cutting back his slate from a change-of-control nine nominees to a minority slate of three candidates after the influential proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services said it was recommending against his entire slate. ISS subsequently reversed course and said it would support McGuire's three candidates, however, the other major proxy adviser, Glass Lewis, reaffirmed a previous recommendation against the dissident slate.
Nevertheless, calculated another way, Marcato's investment has already been a win for the activist fund manager. McGuire's fund accumulated an original 6% stake in February with four big purchases at prices ranging from $45.77 a share to $46.28 a share, prices significantly below the UGG maker's current share price of $76.96 a share. McGuire subsequently acquired additional shares in October for $64.58 a share. He currently owns an 8.4% stake.