Practitioner's Playbook: Starboard Vs. Darden

Law360, New York (October 15, 2014, 3:14 PM EDT) -- Starboard Value LP was already one of the best-regarded activist investors in the marketplace before it won full control of Darden Restaurant Inc.'s board last week, putting another feather in its cap thanks to a campaign loaded with well-crafted offensive and defensive maneuvers.

The victory brought a buzzworthy end to a hard-fought campaign that showcased activists' willingness to stage bold plays under the right conditions. The rare complete board overhaul both reinforces activists' power in the marketplace and exposes Darden's failings — a warning shot to other underperforming companies.

Starboard "would have preferred not to have to go for complete control, but...

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