Argus Research analyst John Staszak has downgraded shares of Cracker Barrel Old Country after the Lebanon-based restaurant and retail company reported solid fiscal first-quarter profits but said its traffic trends will remain soft for a while. Staszak now rates Cracker Barrel, which closed last Wednesday (Ticker: CBRL) above $130, at 'hold' and says he sees "little room for P/E multiple expansion in the near term."
Separately, veteran local restaurant analyst Bob Derrington — who this summer moved to Telsey Advisory Group — has trimmed his price target for Cracker Barrel to $142 from $155 on the back of the Q1 results. Derrington in late October had lowered his target from $165.
The team behind Edley's Bar-B-Que plans to open their fourth restaurant about this time next year — and it will be their first outside of Nashville. Eater Nashville reports that entrepreneurs Will and Catharine Newman are taking space in the same Lexington, Kentucky, shopping center J. Alexander's has picked for one of its next locations.
J. Alexander’s Holdings director Frank Martire has in the past week spent almost $215,000 to build his stake in the restaurant company. Martire was named to the board of West End-based J. Alexander’s in September, just before the company returned to the New York Stock Exchange. He is the executive chairman of Fortune 500 company Fidelity National Information Services and was that company’s CEO from 2009 to early this year.
Martire's recent purchases have more than doubled his stake in J. Alexander’s (Ticker: JAX), which has climbed about 10 percent since being spun out of Fidelity National Financial nearly two months ago.
As was the case three years ago, Sardar Biglari isn't the only Cracker Barrel shareholder who doesn't like Cracker Barrel Old Country Store's shareholder rights plan, more commonly known as a poison pill. But, as was also the case in 2012, the restaurant and retail company's plan passed very comfortably last week, garnering 11.8 million 'for' share votes versus 6.2 million shares opposed. That means investors controlling almost 1.5 million shares — some 6 percent of Cracker Barrel's total stock outstanding — aren't thrilled with the outcome.
Shareholders of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store have voted to extend the poison pill adopted by the company's board this spring all the way to 2018. The mechanism is designed to deter activist Sardar Biglari, who in turn says he's not interested in growing his stake in the company.
The company is promising exact vote numbers soon but it's likely the decision was pretty clear: Biglari's initiatives have been losing support in recent years.
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