Will Bed Bath & Beyond Wash Its Board?

The Wall Street Journal has reported that activist investors are preparing to launch a proxy fight against the Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) board of directors. Shares jumped early on Tuesday on the rumors that the company may replace all 12 members of its current board.

Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that the activist funds, which control a combined 5% of the retailer’s outstanding shares, said Bed Bath & Beyond has failed to adapt as consumers shop more online, and they want the company to better curate its merchandise.

Raymond James analyst Bobby Griffin upgraded Bed Bath & Beyond by two notches to strong buy from Market Perform, saying many of the merits that make the company attractive for a buyout also hold true from an activist standpoint.

“The most difficult issue facing all investors is the same: management’s irritating lack of transparency,” Griffin wrote in a note to clients. The stock has shed 34% over the past 12 months, through Monday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has slipped 0.9% and the S&P 500 has gained 5.3%.

Excluding Tuesday’s move, the stock had outperformed year to date, up 22.5%. But the stock was down about 35% in the past 52 weeks.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond closed Monday at $13.87, in a 52-week range of $10.46 to $21.74. The consensus price target is $12.87. Following the release, the stock was up about 23% at $17.09 in early trading indications.