If the company that owns Ugg boots doesn’t step into line, its board could get kicked to the curb.
Activist investment fund Marcato Capital, which has been prodding Ugg’s struggling parent Deckers Outdoors to sell itself, threatened to wage a proxy battle to replace all of its board directors if they don’t act soon.
Although Deckers began a strategic review in April, Marcato boss Mick McGuire griped in a Tuesday letter that its board showed a “lack of transparency” in the proceedings.
Ugg boots, whose sheepskin styles account for 80 percent of Deckers’ sales, have wavered in popularity in recent years since exploding on the scene in the early aughts. The brand tried to raise prices in 2012 amid a sheepskin supply crunch but shoppers balked.
Facing a supply glut last year, the brand started selling its boots at Macy’s, downmarket from Ugg’s usual retailers such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.
Following the slip-ups of Deckers’ premier boot brand, Marcato Capital amassed a 6 percent stake in Deckers in February, pushing it to pursue a sale.
McGuire bemoaned Decker’s “history of underperformance” he said was brought on by “wasteful capital allocation,” heavy corporate spending and a “failed retail expansion strategy.”
The hedge fund previously offered to settle for “limited representation” on the board to help with the sales process the company announced in April, but that offer so far has been refused.
“While we typically seek to work constructively with boards to implement change, we view this situation differently,” McGuire wrote.
Shares of Deckers, which are up 48 percent since Marcato initiated its stake in February, popped 1.2 percent to $67.72 Tuesday.
“We appreciate the views of our stockholders,” Deckers said in a statement. “As previously announced on April 25, 2017, our board of directors is reviewing a broad range of strategic alternatives to enhance stockholder value.”
McGuire’ bravado comes less than a month after he won three board seats at Buffalo Wild Wings and forced the exit of longtime CEO Sally Smith.