Under pressure from two activist investment firms, UGG boots owner Deckers Outdoor (DECK) on Tuesday announced it would consider a review of strategic alternatives such as a sale.
The company's shares rose by nearly 1% in late trading to $58.74 a share on the news.
In a statement Deckers said it retained Moelis & Co. as a financial adviser on the strategic review, "which may include a sale or other transaction." In addition, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is providing legal counsel in the review process.
The announcement comes after activist Marcato Capital Management Mick McGuire launched a campaign in February filing an activist 13D reporting a 5% stake and noting that he plans to talk to directors and officers at the Goleta, Calif.-based company. In the filing, McGuire added that discussions may focus on "strategic alternatives" such as a potential sale of the company or its "businesses or assets."
In addition to Marcato, newbie activist fund Red Mountain Capital Partners, another activist fund, owns a 3.3% stake in Deckers. Red Mountain called on the footwear firm in March to sell itself.
Deckers may have until mid-June to make some headway on its review. The deadline to nominate dissident director candidates for the 2017 annual meeting is likely to occur in mid-June, with an annual meeting likely to occur in September. It is very possible that Marcato or Red Mountain could launch a proxy contest to elect dissident directors by that time.
Marcato Capital has 21 activist campaigns under its belt, including two director election battles and seven public letters to boards and management teams since McGuire formed his fund in 2010 after leaving activist Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management. McGuire is in the midst of a heated director-election contest at wing and beer restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) , which is set to come up for a vote on June 2.
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In addition, Red Mountain also has some director-battle experience, though it lost a bitter proxy fight with iRobot (IRBT - Get Report) last year. Red Mountain said in March that it had met with the Deckers board and management team over the past two years to discuss the business and its view that a "sale to a strategic or financial buyer is substantially higher than the risk-adjusted value of the standalone operating plan" the company's management has put out.
The UGG brand makes up 83% of Deckers Outdoor revenues, but the company has other footwear brands, including Teva and Sanuk. It's possible that Marcato could push for a sale of Teva and Sanuk brands to raise cash for stock buybacks or to have the company focus on the UGG business
Deckers Outdoor was included on The Deal's Watch List of possible activist targets in 2015 based on the expectation that the company could make an attractive candidate for a leveraged buyout or an activist target if management didn't want to discuss a deal.
The Deal, a sister publication of TheStreet, has previously reported that a strategic buyer like VF (VFC) could be interested in acquiring Deckers and adding to its active outdoor lifestyle business.
Editor's pick: This story was originally published on April 25 at 5:10 p.m. ET