Borders Group amends meeting rules

AP News
Posted: Dec 10, 2009 4:13 PM

Bookseller Borders Group Inc. said Thursday it amended its bylaws to allow holders of 10 percent or more of the company's outstanding shares to call a special meeting of shareholders, consistent with a proposal that was passed at its annual meeting in May.

The only current investor with a stake of 10 percent or larger is hedge fund company Pershing Square Capital Management, which held a 17.6 percent stake as of the end of September, according to investor Web site LionShares. Pershing Square is run by activist shareholder William Ackman, who has agitated for improved retailer profits, notably at Target Corp.

The company, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., also said it elected a longtime executive at home-improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. to its board.

David Shelton, 62, will join as a new director. He was at Lowe's for 36 years, most recently as senior vice president of real estate, engineering and construction before his retirement in 2006.

Brick-and-mortar book retailers have faced increased competition from discounters and online retailers who have significantly lowered their prices to snag more business. The recession has compounded the problem, with shoppers limiting spending on discretionary items like books.

Borders has cut jobs, closed stores and put new leadership in place to cope with the challenges. It unsuccessfully explored the possible sale of the company more than a year ago but did sell some business segments.

Shares closed up 14 cents, or nearly 11 percent, at $1.42 amid unusually heavy trading. The stock has traded between 37 cents and $4.48 during the past year.