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Is Regis about to bring down the hammer?

Posted by: under Retail Updated: January 25, 2012 - 5:42 PM

Regis Corp. will release second quarter earnings Thursday, which, as the company indicated earlier this month, are not likely to be good.

The real question, though, is whether Regis, now under the firm guidance of activist investor Starboard Value LP, will divulge its plans to trim the company's balance sheet.

Speculation has been rising among analysts and employees that Regis plans to announce deep layoffs. Asked to respond, Regis officials say they will not comment until after they release earnings.

Hmmm.

In some ways, we're really talking about semantics. The question is not whether Regis will cut staff but when.

When Starboard first bought a stake in Regis last summer, the New York-based hedge fund said the country's largest operator of hair salons was bloated with costs and lacked operational focus. To boost shareholder value, Regis should cut at least $100 million in costs, Starboard said.

Regis has already committed to trimming $40 million to $50 million over the next two years. But president/incoming CEO Randy Pearce told investors at the company's annual meeting Regis will need to find more savings.

Starboard's successful placement of three candidates to the Regis board combined with the pending exit of longtime chairman/CEO Paul Finkelstein practically guarantees Regis is about to get a lot thinner and soon.

Starboard is specifically targeting Regis "corporate overhead," which means the 1,250 souls at the company's headquarters and distribution center in Edina could bear the brunt of any initial cuts.

Stay tuned.

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