The activist shareholder firm that ousted managers at an Eden Prairie company earlier this year is now seeking change at Imation Corp., becoming the latest investor to pressure the Oakdale-based maker of data storage products.
New York-based Clinton Group sent a letter to Imation's board on Monday with the names of three people it wants elected to the company's board.
The move is the latest sign of investor discontent with ongoing losses at Imation. The company's stock has dropped from $12 a share in January 2011 to around $3.60 a share.
In September, Spear Point Capital Partners of New Orleans demanded that Imation directors replace Chief Executive Mark Lucas and hire an investment bank to sell Imation's corporate headquarters and other assets. Last month, after meeting with Imation executives, Spear Point eased up on Lucas but said it would still seek the real estate sale and board changes.
Imation said Tuesday that its board and management "are fully committed to creating value for all stockholders and continue to take actions to position the company as a global leader in data storage and security solutions." The company's statement said it "is confident it has the right strategies in place to continue to improve financial and operational performance and enhance stockholder value."
Clinton Group's effort appears concentrated on Imation's board. It didn't call for an immediate meeting of shareholders, however.
"We anticipate articulating our case for change and our proposed path forward to all shareholders in the coming months," Joseph De Perio, a senior portfolio manager at Clinton, said of Imation. "We would like to give our fellow shareholders an option in the next annual meeting to impanel a board of directors that we believe is more equipped and more aligned to tackle the issues at hand at Imation."
The Clinton firm said it wants to add De Perio, who has served as the top manager of the Clinton portfolio since 2010, to the Imation board along with Robert Fernander, a technology executive with expertise in data storage, and consultant Barry Kasoff. It said it notified Imation and the Securities and Exchange Commission of its intent last month.
Last year, Clinton Group mounted a more aggressive effort for change at ValueVision Media, the Eden Prairie-based Web and cable retailer now called Evine Live. ValueVision and Clinton struggled publicly for months before investors sided with the investment firm by ousting board members and executives.
Imation has been trying to make changes, though perhaps not fast enough for some shareholders.
Last week, Imation appointed Geoff Barrall to its board of directors. Barrall is CEO of Connected Data Inc., a creator of a peer-to-peer private storage devices. In July, Imation CFO Paul Zeller left the company and was succeeded by Scott Robinson, who had been controller and chief accounting officer.
In May, Imation reported a first-quarter revenue drop of 20 percent and a loss that was 64 percent larger than Wall Street had expected. Last month, it posted a $55 million operating loss for the third quarter on revenues that fell 9 percent.
At the time, CEO Lucas said, "We continue to make progress in our evolution; however, we recognize we have much more to do as we position the business for consistent and sustainable growth."
He noted that the company introduced new data storage products, lowered expenses and moderated declines from its legacy magnetic tape and optical media storage.
Imation will post fourth-quarter results in either late January or early February.