Activist Group Seeks to Take Control of Kohl's Board, Nominates 10 Directors
Activist group Macellum has amplified the pressure on Kohl’s as it seeks to take control of the retailer’s board by nominating 10 directors. Macellum, led by Jonathan Duskin, has criticized Kohl’s for not performing as well as it could in recent years. Last month, it called for the company to consider selling itself. Kohl’s responded by saying Macellum’s efforts are “unjustified and counterproductive.” Earlier this month, Kohl’s rejected two takeover offers that it said undervalued its business, and it also adopted a “poison pill” plan to avoid a hostile takeover.
Total Retail's Take: This is the second time that Macellum has nominated directors at Kohl’s. Last year, it pushed the department store chain to expand its 11-member board by three directors. Kohl's and its CEO, Michelle Gass, have been under pressure to expedite the turnaround process at the department store chain, and if not able to do so, find a buyer willing to pay a price that satisfies shareholders. One of the more interesting rumors to emerge is that Amazon may be among the potential suitors for Kohl's. The two already have a relationship — Kohl's accepts returns of Amazon products at its brick-and-mortar stores. Furthermore, Amazon is investing more heavily into physical retail and could leverage Kohl's existing stores for both its own storefronts as well as convert them into distribution centers for its e-commerce business. For now, Kohl's seems willing to continue on its current path to recovery and growth, but that could change quickly if Amazon makes it an offer that it can't refuse.