GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Loeb Partners, the New-York-based investment firm that has been pushing for Spartan Stores here to sell itself, has reduced its stake significantly in the wholesaler and withdrawn its nominations to Spartan's board of directors.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Loeb said that "in light of the recent movement of [Spartan's] stock price," it has withdrawn the nominations of Eugene Davis and Timothy Bernlohr for election to the board.
Loeb began acquiring shares in Spartan late last year when the stock was trading at less than $6 per share. It started pushing for a sale of the company in February, saying that the stock should be worth at least $14 per share. It continued to acquire Spartan shares until it became the company's largest shareholder, with a stake of more than 10%.
As the share price soared to close to $15 per share, Loeb over the past several weeks has been selling its position in Spartan and has no longer been acquiring stock. As of June 17, Loeb had reduced its stake to about 5.86%, or about 1.2 million shares.
In one three-day period this month, for example, Loeb and its affiliates sold about 60,000 shares at $13.47 to $14.61 per share, according to SEC filings.
Loeb declined to comment, citing company policy. Jeanne Norcross, Spartan's vice president, corporate affairs, said the wholesaler "continues to watch [Loeb's] activity with interest."
"We are moving forward with the due process and election of directors for Spartan Stores," she told SN. "Spartan's annual meeting of shareholders and election of directors will be held in August as scheduled."
It was not clear whether Loeb would have been able to get its nominees considered for election to the board, as it appeared to miss the company's deadline for proposals at this year's annual meeting.