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Investor reveals 9.5% Denny’s stake, vows to take active role

WASHINGTON Investment fund Olstein Capital Management LP has purchased a 9.5-percent stake in family-dining company Denny’s Corp. and said it planned to take “an active interest” in the strategic direction of the company, according to a filing made Wednesday with securities regulators.

Olstein, which purchased nearly 9 million shares of Denny’s from early August through Oct. 5 for prices ranging between $3.73 and $4.40 per share, said it believed Denny’s stock was undervalued.

“Steps can and should be taken by [Denny’s] to increase [its] market valuation,” Olstein said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Purchase, N.Y.-based investment fund planned to “continue its dialogue with and to take an active interest in [Denny’s] regarding ... strategic direction,” it also said.

Still, Olstein does not have any present plans or proposals for the company, it noted.

Denny’s, with 1,539 corporate or franchised locations, is the largest family-dining chain. The parent company, based in Spartanburg, S.C., reported last month that it would cut between 80 and 90 jobs as part of an “operational realignment” that would reduce annual costs between $8 million and $9 million. It also has been actively refranchising corporate units and selling its real estate holdings. Financial results for the company’s latest quarter ended Sept. 26 are expected Nov. 1.

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