Dillard’s Under Activist Fire As Management Buys Shares (DDS)

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Anyone who bought Dillard’s Inc. (NYSE: DDS) shares late Friday looking for a bounce caught a break.  The stock is rallying sharply after management bought shares of stock in the open market and two hedge funds said they are going after management as activists.

CEO & Chairman William Dillard II bought 100,000 of the Class Acommon shares in the open market at $3.93 on October 23, giving him803,414 common shares.  But he also owns over 82,000 shares of Class Acommon stock in his retirement plan and another 41,496 in an entity ofhis called W. D. Company.  He also held 3,985,776 of the Class Bcommon shares.

President and Director Alex Dillard bought 100,000 shares of Class A common stock at $3.93 on October 23.

CFO Jame Freeman bought 200,000 shares of common stock at $3.8976 on October 23.

Corporate Officer Vice President of Stores Burt Squires acquired 4,000 Class A shares at $5.00 on October 23.

Director Brad martin bought 20,000 shares of Class A common stock at $3.95 and 2,000 shares at $3.95 on October 23.

Hedge funds and now activist investors Barington Companies EquityPartners, L.P. and Clinton Group Inc. are seeking to get rid of CEOWilliam Dillard.

They charge that Dillard’s needs to get rid of other Dillard family members from the company. They claim  these family members would have been fired long ago if it wasn’t for their family name.

Dillard’s shares are up nearly 30% today at $4.31, but its 52-week highis $23.44.  When shareholders suffer 75% and 80% losses, it is easy tosee why they would want to oust management entirely.  Because of dualstock classes and founding-family status, this ouster effort will notbe an easy one.

Jon C. Ogg
October 27, 2008