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Supervalu's power struggle headed to stockholder vote

Supervalu's current transformation into the wholesale supplier of choice in the U.S. grocery industry is driving value for all stockholders and its board is under attack by an alternative investment management firm trying to seize control of the company — or Supervalu has lost more than $5 billion of shareholder value over the last 10 years and Blackwells is trying to replace board members it feels have proven to be "unimaginative, intractable and lackadaisical stewards of the company, to the great detriment of Supervalu’s shareholders."supervalu

In a letter to Supervalu's investors, Blackwells said, "Though we believe Supervalu’s directors undoubtedly want to do better, they lack the critical grocery and logistics experience that would help inform sound strategic judgment and capable oversight."

"We have been taking decisive actions to create stockholder value by rapidly and strategically transforming Supervalu into the wholesale supplier of choice in the U.S. grocery industry — and we continue to make meaningful progress," Supervalu said in its own letter to stockholders.

Things will come to a head at the company's upcoming meeting on Aug. 16, when stockholders will vote for new — or old — board members.

Supervalu said it has a diverse and independent board that benefits from a breadth of skills and expertise to position the company for success. Eight of its nine directors are independent.

“To protect the investment of all shareholders and help Supervalu achieve its full potential," Blackwells said it has recruited and nominated six "extremely talented professionals to the company’s board.

“We have lost faith in the current Supervalu board, but not in Supervalu," Jason Aintabi, managing partner at Blackwells Capital, said in the letter to Supervalu's investors.

Supervalu and Blackwells haven't been able to agree on much, even the latter company's ownership stake. "Blackwells claims that it has a 7.7 percent ownership interest in Supervalu, analysis of the detailed information it has provided in its filings shows that, taking into account its various options contracts, Blackwells’ exposure tothe company’s shares is materially lower than 7.7 percent."