MINNEAPOLIS – Marcato Capital Management openly criticized senior executives and board members at Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. for consistently selling their shares in the company since 2003 while executing only one open market purchase. Marcato owns 5.6 percent of Buffalo Wild Wings stock.
Marcato argued that company leadership wasn’t “putting their money where their mouth is…” and accused senior executives of using Buffalo Wild Wings’ employee equity plan “…to extract short-term gains, taking advantage of the plan’s discount purchase incentive to buy stock at a discount and quickly flip the shares into the open market at fair value.”
“Since its IPO in 2003, Buffalo Wild Wings’ board and management team have sold the vast majority of all stock ever owned,” Mick McGuire, managing partner of Marcato, said in a statement. “In our view, this lack of long-term ownership has contributed to failures of governance and oversight, poor capital allocation discipline and the severe lack of urgency in navigating the difficult operating environment. Shareholders deserve a board and management team that is willing to commit its own capital alongside them.”
McGuire has openly criticized Buffalo Wild Wings in the past for, among other things, lacking a long-term growth strategy for the casual dining chain. In a presentation to shareholders, Marcato said the company’s business challenges are a result of a board and executive team that is “…economically misaligned with the long-term consequences of their decisions.”