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Outback owner Bloomin’ Brands could get new board members picked by activist investor

Jana Partners has nominated firm employees and the former Dairy Queen CEO to be on the restaurant company’s board.
A Outback Steakhouse in Tampa at 4302 W. Boy Scout Blvd. near International Plaza and Bay Street.  (Monique Welch | Times)
A Outback Steakhouse in Tampa at 4302 W. Boy Scout Blvd. near International Plaza and Bay Street. (Monique Welch | Times) [ BY MONIQUE WELCH | Monique Welch ]
Published Feb. 5, 2020
Updated Feb. 5, 2020

TAMPA — An activist investor in Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands is nominating up to three people to join the restaurant company’s board of directors, according to a notice filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing from investment firm Jana Partners offers the following nominees: Scott Ostfeld, a Jana partner and portfolio manager; John Paul Gainor, who owns 12,000 shares in Bloomin’ and is a former Dairy Queen CEO; and Jennifer Fanjiang, who is a chief legal officer at Jana.

Jana states in the filing that it owns 6.4 million shares, or just over 7 percent, of the restaurant company. That makes it one of the restaurant company’s leading shareholders.

Related: Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands exploring possible sale

Jana had pushed Outback to explore a sale a few years ago. At that time, the firm said in a different filing it had the right to propose new directors for the board.

In November, Bloomin’ announced it was looking into putting itself up for sale. CEO David Deno said shareholder value hadn’t matched the company’s overall progress and steady sales. Bloomin’ operates Outback, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

Bloomin’ Brands will hold its fourth quarter earnings conference call with investors on Feb. 18.