In a continuing bid to get Goleta-based Deckers Brands to sell the company, Marcato International filed a complaint in the Delaware Court of Chancery that named each member of the Deckers’ board of directors as defendants, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission document released Oct. 23.
Marcato asked that the court enter an order declaring that the Deckers must hold its annual meeting on Dec. 14, without further postponement. Marcato asked the court expedite the case and schedule a two-day trial on or before Dec. 7. The complaint stems from Deckers officials preventing Marcato nominees from being on the board.
Hedge fund Marcato is a minority investor in Deckers, owning about 6 percent of the company. It has been making rumblings about forcing Deckers to sell the shoe, boot, sandal and accessories company, which started in Santa Barbara some four decades ago. Deckers started looking into a sale in April.
Santa Barbara mayoral candidate Angel Martinez is still a member of the Deckers board after stepping down as CEO earlier this year. Marcato officials indicated they were not happy with Martinez getting into politics.
The complaint alleges the board members have “breached their fiduciary duties by refusing to approve the nominees as ‘continuing directors’ under certain of the (stock) issuer’s compensation arrangements” prior to the company’s 2017 annual shareholders’ meeting.
The document accused the board of “knowingly causing the issuer to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the ‘SEC’) a preliminary proxy statement containing false and misleading statements and material omissions regarding the change in control provisions in the issuer’s compensation arrangements and the company’s second amended and restated credit agreement and the issuer’s application thereof as they relate to the proxy contest with Marcato International.”
By delaying the meeting to elect board members, Marcato said Deckers could face some $100 million in penalties.
Deckers’ stock is up 22 percent this year at around $65 a share.