Ever since private-equity firm Starboard Value became Office Depot's (NASDAQ: ODP ) largest shareholder late last year, the two have been butting heads over replacing the company's board members. A court ruling firmly setting the date of the office-supply retailer's annual meeting has both sides claiming victory.
For its part, Office Depot says it's a shame it had to waste money going to court to defend against Starboard's action to force an annual meeting. Since they're working on the merger with OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX ) , it was a process that had to play out. That's why they announced last week they were going to have the meeting on Aug. 21.
Starboard says Office Depot has historically held the meeting in April, and the company postponed the gathering to thwart the PE firm's efforts at replacing the board. It previously noted that OfficeMax had gone forward with its annual shareholder meeting despite the pending merger. And in spite of what Office Depot management now says, they never notified Starboard they were going to set the meeting date, which is why it was forced to go to court.
Yet with the court saying the date will be Aug. 21, there can be no more delays, and in light of that, Starboard has dropped its motion for consent solicitation, which allows stockholders to take action in the absence of a stockholder meeting.
Starboard is offering up four candidates for the board, which it says are highly qualified individuals, certainly more so than those currently on the board. Office Depot shareholders of record on July 11 will be eligible to vote at the annual meeting.