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Cracker Barrel shareholders support company slate

LEBANON, Tenn. (AP) -- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. said Thursday that its shareholders elected the company's slate of nominees to its board at its annual meeting, rejecting an activist investor's nominees for a second straight time.

The Lebanon, Tenn.-based restaurant chain said that based on preliminary results, over 70 percent of its shares were cast in favor of its nominees. Excluding shares owned by Biglari Holdings Inc., which had put up its own pair of nominees, nearly 90 percent of shares were cast in favor of the company's slate, Cracker Barrel said.

In addition, over 65 percent of the company's shares were cast in favor of keeping the company's shareholder rights plan, which is designed to protect shareholders in the event of a hostile takeover. That included over 80 percent of the shares voted by shareholders other than Biglari Holdings, the company said.

Sardar Biglari, who has an 18 percent stake in Cracker Barrel, has been pressing for changes in the company's board for some time. His firm owns the Steak 'n Shake and Western Sizzlin restaurant chains.

Biglari ran for a seat on Cracker Barrel's board at the company's annual meeting last year, but failed to be elected. This year, Biglari was again seeking a seat for himself, as was Phil Cooley, Biglari Holdings' vice chairman.

Cracker Barrel offered Biglari a chance in September to nominate two other directors to its board, saying there were conflicts of interest, as well as legal and other issues, that prevented them from being suitable selections. The move was dismissed by Biglari as a "faux offer."

Cracker Barrel shares fell 8 cents to close at $61.86.