Cracker Barrel resists Biglari bid for board seat

Friday, December 16, 2011, Vol. 35, No. 50

LEBANON (AP) - Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. said Tuesday that early results show that shareholders elected all of the company's nominees to the Cracker Barrel board at its annual meeting, defeating a dissident nominee's bid to join it.

Investment firm Biglari Holdings Inc. was seeking to unseat Charles Jones Jr., chairman of the board's compensation committee. It had nominated its chairman and CEO, Sardar Biglari, for a seat on the board.

Of Lebanon, Tenn.-based restaurant chain's 13 directors, 11 were up for re-election and two stepped down. All 11 that ran were re-elected, the company said.

San Antonio-based Biglari, which owns the Steak 'n Shake and Western Sizzlin restaurant chains, began buying Cracker Barrel shares in June and has regulatory approval to buy a nearly 50 percent stake in the company. It now owns just less than 10 percent of Cracker Barrel's outstanding common shares.

Biglari has complained that Crac ker Barrel isn't living up to its potential. It also has said that the restaurant chain, which also operates retail stores that sell a variety of items including gifts and souvenirs, should provide more detailed disclosures about its individual business units and that the directors should invest more of their own money in the company.

The company reported last month its fiscal first-quarter earnings inched up slightly, helped by new store growth that balanced declines in revenue from stores and restaurants open at least a year. Revenue at stores open at least a year is an important retail metric because it excludes the impact of locations that were recently opened or closed.

In afternoon trading, Cracker Barrel shares rose 30 cents to $49.05.