Bolting The Boardroom Door At Sears

Most proxy contests are shoo-ins for management. But Sears, Roebuck & Co. isn't taking any chances. To prepare for its May 9 election of directors, Sears plans to spend an astonishing $5.6 million to make sure shareholder activist Robert A. G. Monks doesn't win a seat. It has assigned 30 people to get out the vote against him. It has shrunk its 15-member board to 10, boosting the number of votes he needs to get elected by nearly 50%. It got its attorney, Martin Lipton, the father of the poison pill, to slap Monks with a lawsuit to deny him access to a list of shareholders. It has even purchased a background file on him from a Washington law firm.

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