|By PR Newswire||
|February 3, 2014 04:58 PM EST||
NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Clinton Group, Inc., which together with its affiliates and members of its group ("Clinton Group"), owns more than 9% of the outstanding stock of ValueVision Media, Inc. (Nasdaq: VVTV) ("ValueVision" or the "Company"), today criticized the ValueVision Board of Directors (the "Board") for failing to organize a Special Meeting of Shareholders (a "Special Meeting") by February 2, 2014, as Clinton Group believes was required under Minnesota law and the Company's Bylaws.
In November, as was its right under Minnesota corporate law, the Clinton Group filed a notice with the Company calling for a Special Meeting to be held within ninety days to consider various proposals to improve the Company's governance and to replace a majority of the Board. Ninety days passed on Sunday and no such Special Meeting was held.
"The ValueVision Board has sought to hide behind various irrelevant technicalities in refusing to permit shareholders to vote in a timely way," said Gregory P. Taxin, President of the Clinton Group. "This blatant effort to delay the inevitable and tilt the playing field is an example of the worst sort of Board entrenchment imaginable. We do not believe our fellow owners will take this affront to shareholder rights lightly."
The Clinton Group sent ValueVision a letter today criticizing the Board for failing to call a timely meeting and failing to permit shareholders to vote on the Clinton Group's proposals. The Clinton Group indicated that it will pursue its proposals at the Company's next Annual Meeting of Shareholders, which is scheduled to be held in June.
A complete copy of the Clinton Group's letter is below:
[Clinton Group Letterhead]
February 3, 2014
Mr. Randy S. Ronning
ValueVision Media Inc.
6740 Shady Oak Road
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Re: ValueVision Media's Manipulation of the Shareholder Franchise
Dear Mr. Ronning:
Clinton Group, Inc., its affiliates and members of its group (the "Clinton Group") are the second largest owner of the ValueVision Media Inc. (the "Company" or "ValueVision").
As was our right under Minnesota law, as a 10% shareholder, we filed paperwork with the Company - more than 300 pages in all - seeking a Special Meeting of Shareholders to consider several proposals we have for our fellow owners. In particular, as you know, we were seeking the removal of a majority of the Board of Directors (the "Board") and the election of seven independent and highly qualified nominees (the "Nominees"). We also proposed several improvements to the Company's corporate governance.
Minnesota law is clear. When faced with such a request by a suitably large group of investors, the Board of Directors is to call a meeting within 90 days. That period elapsed yesterday, and yet there has been no meeting. Instead, faced with a referendum on its own tenure, the Board has dragged its feet by hiding behind irrelevant technicalities and selected a distant date most suitable and advantageous for the incumbent directors, in violation of binding Minnesota law.
Your offer to hold the Special Meeting on March 14 was undoubtedly engineered by the craftiest of the seven professional advisory firms you had the Company hire to help you and your fellow directors avoid a plebiscite on the Board's performance. The Company's Fourth Quarter is traditionally the most important quarter of the year. It appears to us that your extra-legal scheduling of the Special Meeting for March 14 was calculated to allow management to release Fourth Quarter results (if they are helpful to the Board's cause) or not release them (if those results continue the disappointing pattern of financial under-performance etched over the last five years). We note that in the prior four years, the Company has released its Fourth Quarter results on March 6, March 15, March 17 and March 26, providing the Board ample cover for releasing or not releasing results prior to the putative Special Meeting.
Moreover, as you know, one of the Board's most qualified and respected directors, Robert Pick, recently resigned from the Board. We had hoped Mr. Pick, who represented the Company's largest shareholder, Comcast, would continue to serve alongside our proposed Nominees. In light of his resignation, we sought to modify our proposals, leaving in place other incumbent directors to ensure the business has the benefit of continuity among the Board even as most of the Board is replaced by more experienced and qualified directors from our slate. But no. Despite the improperly delayed meeting (and the intervening resignation of Mr. Pick), you and your fellow directors have refused to allow us to modify our proposals to ensure shareholders can achieve an optimal outcome. (So now, even though you deemed our original proposals technically improper, you are insisting that we propose them rather than the modified versions we actually want to put in front of our fellow shareholders in light of the change in Board composition that occurred while you delayed the meeting. Oh, what a tangled web you weave!)
In summary, the Board has offered to hold a meeting on a date outside of the law's requirements (to your own advantage) to consider stale proposals the propounding shareholder no longer advocates.
We do not believe our fiduciaries should be gaming shareholders in this way.
Since you have forced shareholders to wait this long – jeopardizing further the possibility of a successful turnaround by a new Board – shareholders should at least have the benefit of full year 2013 results, the Company's annual report, and time to consider (and receive proxy advisory recommendations) on these materials before voting. And, shareholders should be permitted to consider proposals that are crafted in light of circumstances (i.e. Mr. Pick's resignation) that have changed since November, when we made our original proposals.
We understand that the directors enjoy their unusually lucrative Board positions, but that is no reason to deny shareholders their rights under the law. Mr. Ronning, you in particular, suffer from a stark conflict of interest in these matters. Your compensation as Chairman of the Company is wildly outsized at $413,000 last year; indeed your pay was up 30% year-over-year, was paid mostly (70%) in cash, was twice as high as the average HSN director and was nearly double that of the average Fortune 500 director, according to the Company's own compensation advisor.
While you undoubtedly desire to retain this plum assignment, public shareholders have a different interest: we seek directors who can execute the role of overseeing strategy and management with independence and prowess. With ValueVision's stock flat over the past three years (while HSN has doubled in value and the Russell 2000 is up 41%), we believe shareholders should be given a fair opportunity to choose different directors.
But the Board has insisted on a tilted playing field in which it sets the rules, irrespective of controlling law, to further, we believe, the directors' own desire to remain on the Board. You have cleverly attempted, in our view, to push the Special Meeting to March 14 to gain an information advantage over the shareholders and treat them as your objects rather than properly regarding yourself as their fiduciary. Most recently, the directors have taken it onto themselves to decide which proposals we are permitted to put before our fellow shareholders, in an effort to ensure those proposals are not optimal.
We will not play on such a field because we will not condone such seemingly blatant efforts by our fiduciaries to serve their own interests. We therefore intend to bypass your sua sponte Special Meeting and its stale version of our proposals.
That being said, we are immensely grateful for all the support we have received from our fellow shareholders and from current and former employees and vendors. There is a clear pattern that emerges from the dozens of communications we have had with this latter group: the Company is saddled with a dysfunctional corporate culture and management structure, replete with bullying, arbitrary decision making, a lack of vision, an inability to plan, coarse language, internal dissension, high turnover and management cliques. While the picture painted by those intimately familiar with the Company's operation is deeply troubling, it also emboldens our view that the wounds shareholders have suffered (e.g. just two profitable quarters since Mr. Stewart took the helm 19 quarters ago) have been inflicted by poor management (and even worse strategic decision making), which can be rectified with the appropriate change in personnel.
Mr. Ronning, while we will not show up to your Special Meeting, we also will not relent in our efforts to rectify the Company's lack of strategic vision and management and Board talent. No amount of sleight-of-hand and manipulation of the shareholder franchise by the incumbent Board will prevent the shareholders from achieving the changes required to optimize performance and enhance value.
It is just a matter of time, Mr. Ronning. On that score, we look forward to seeing you at the Company's Annual Meeting in June.
Gregory P. Taxin
cc: Board of Directors, ValueVision Media
Clinton Group, Inc. and certain of its affiliates, officers and employees intend to make a preliminary filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") of a proxy solicitation statement to be used to solicit proxies for the removal of a majority of the directors from the Board, the expansion of the size of the Board and the election of new individuals to the Board, among other things.
This communication is not a proxy solicitation, which may be done only pursuant to a definitive written proxy statement.
About Clinton Group,Inc.
Clinton Group, Inc. is a diversified asset management firm that is a Registered Investment Advisor. The firm has been investing in global markets since its inception in 1991 with expertise that spans a wide range of investment styles and asset classes.
CLINTON SPOTLIGHT MASTER FUND, L.P., CLINTON MAGNOLIA MASTER FUND, LTD., CLINTON RELATIONAL OPPORTUNITY MASTER FUND, L.P., CLINTON RELATIONAL OPPORTUNITY, LLC, CHANNEL COMMERCE PARTNERS, L.P., CLINTON GROUP, INC., GEORGE E. HALL (COLLECTIVELY, "CLINTON"), CANNELL CAPITAL LLC, TRISTAN OFFSHORE FUND, LTD., TRISTAN PARTNERS, L.P., CUTTYHUNK II FUND LLC, TONGA PARTNERS, L.P. AND J. CARLO CANNELL (COLLECTIVELY, "CANNELL") INTEND TO FILE WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (THE "SEC") A DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT AND ACCOMPANYING PROXY CARD TO BE USED TO SOLICIT PROXIES FROM THE STOCKHOLDERS OF VALUEVISION MEDIA, INC. ("VALUEVISION") IN CONNECTION WITH THE ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS OF VALUEVISION. ALL STOCKHOLDERS OF VALUEVISION ARE ADVISED TO READ THE DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT AND OTHER DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THE SOLICITATION OF PROXIES FROM THE STOCKHOLDERS OF VALUEVISION BY CLINTON, CANNELL, THOMAS DAVID BEERS, DORRIT M. BERN, MARK BOZEK, MELISSA B. FISHER, THOMAS D. MOTTOLA, ROBERT ROSENBLATT AND FRED SIEGEL (COLLECTIVELY, THE "PARTICIPANTS") WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION, INCLUDING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION RELATED TO THE PARTICIPANTS. WHEN COMPLETED, THE DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT AND FORM OF PROXY WILL BE FURNISHED TO SOME OR ALL OF THE STOCKHOLDERS OF VALUEVISION AND WILL, ALONG WITH OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS, BE AVAILABLE AT NO CHARGE ON THE SEC'S WEB SITE AT HTTP://WWW.SEC.GOV. IN ADDITION, CLINTON WILL PROVIDE COPIES OF THE DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT AND ACCOMPANYING PROXY CARD (WHEN AVAILABLE) WITHOUT CHARGE UPON REQUEST.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS AND A DESCRIPTION OF THEIR DIRECT OR INDIRECT INTERESTS BY SECURITY HOLDINGS IS CONTAINED IN EXHIBIT 2 TO THE SCHEDULE 14A FILED BY CLINTON WITH THE SEC ON NOVEMBER 5, 2013. THIS DOCUMENT CAN BE OBTAINED FREE OF CHARGE FROM THE SOURCES INDICATED ABOVE.
SOURCE Clinton Group, Inc.
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
May. 5, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,299
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
May. 5, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,371
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
May. 5, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,185
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
May. 4, 2016 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,251
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
May. 4, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,412
Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudy...
May. 4, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,699
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
May. 4, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,276
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., will focus on real world deployments of DDoS mitigation strategies in every layer of the network. He will give an overview of methods to prevent these attacks and best practices on how to provide protection in complex cloud platforms. He will also outline what we have found in our experience managing and running thousands of Linux and Unix managed service platforms and what specifically c...
May. 4, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,310
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
May. 4, 2016 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,393
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
May. 4, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 416
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
May. 4, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,326
Unless you don’t use the internet, don’t live in California, or haven’t been paying attention to the recent news… you should be aware that self-driving cars are on their way to becoming a reality. I have seen them – they are real. If you believe in the future reality of self-driving cars, then continue reading on. If you don’t believe in the future possibilities, then I am not sure what to do to convince you other than discuss the very real changes that will roll out with the consumer producti...
May. 4, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 826
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
May. 4, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 645
See storage differently! Storage performance problems have only gotten worse and harder to solve as applications have become largely virtualized and moved to a cloud-based infrastructure. Storage performance in a virtualized environment is not just about IOPS, it is about how well that potential performance is guaranteed to individual VMs for these apps as the number of VMs keep going up real time. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, in product and marketing at Tintri, will discu...
May. 4, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,063