Barington Capital urges Darden to split company-WSJ

Reuters

Oct 9 (Reuters) - Hedge fund Barington Capital Group LP ispushing for Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc to split into two separate companies, the Wall Street Journalreported citing people familiar with the matter.

New York-based Barington has taken a 2.8 percent stake inDarden, the Journal said. ()

Shares of the Orlando-based company, which also owns the RedLobster and LongHorn Steakhouse chains, were up 7 percent inlate afternoon trading.

Barington Capital could not immediately be reached forcomment.

A Darden spokesman acknowledged in an email that the companyhad spoken to Barington, but did not provide further detail.

"While it's the company's policy not to comment on specificdiscussions with shareholders, (it) has had dialogue withBarington Capital, and the board will take the time necessary tothoroughly evaluate Barington's suggestions," the statementread.

Darden reported dismal quarterly results in September asOlive Garden and Red Lobster turned in their weakest sales atestablished restaurants in more than three years.

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