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Barington Again Presses Dillard's

Dillard's Inc. is once again been pressured by dissident shareholders to open the books of the closely held company to greater scrutiny, including such items non-cash compensation of directors, family and business relationships, and retirement funds.

Continuing the campaign begun in July 2007, Barington Companies Equity Partners, L.P. (based in Delaware) and Clinton Multistrategy Master Fund, Ltd. (Cayman Islands), as shown in a 13-D filing last week with the SEC, demanded in a letter to Dillard's management to see specific details of the following from the $7.7 billion regional department store operator:

  • "Copies of board of director and committee meeting minutes;

  • "Records of actual or proposed transactions between the company and its executive officers or directors relating to the use or acquisition of certain assets;

  • "Records pertaining to company aircraft;

  • "Records pertaining to CDI contractors and other affiliates engaged in the construction business;

  • "Records pertaining to family and business relationships;

  • "Travel and business expense reimbursement reports;

  • "Dillard's retirement trust."

While the SEC filing shows that Barington sold many more shares of Dillard's than it bought during the last two months, the filing states that Barington and its allied investors own just under 5% of Dillard's outstanding common stock.

The Barington-led group has repeatedly called for replacing Dillard's ceo William Dillard II, and a similar examination of records last spring ended in a compromise whereby Dillard's agreed to several new directors nominated by Barington and Clinton.

Dillard's, No. 39 on the HTT Top 50 Retailing Giants, had 2007 home textiles retail sales volume of $105 million.

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