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Ardent Leisure invites rebel shareholders to join board

Ardent Leisure invites rebel shareholders to join board
September 4, 2017

Embattled theme park and family entertainment centre operator Ardent Leisure has staved off a planned shareholder vote planned for later today (Monday 4th September) by inviting two rebel shareholders onto its board.

Facing a now cancelled extraordinary general meeting, the board invited corporate raider Gary Weiss and US-based executive Brad Richmond on to its board.

The EGM had been called by Dr Weiss and Richmond, nominees put forward by Ariadne, the Ardent’s largest shareholder, in June on the basis that Ardent's board was "in complete disarray", and needed change.

The cancellation of today’s meeting was confirmed in a statement to the ASX this morning.

The statement advised “in line with Ardent’s previous commitment regarding the retirement of Australian non-executive directors, two directors will now step down no later than the 2017 AGM in November.”

Ardent Chairman George Venardos stated “we are confident that Dr Weiss and Mr Richmond can bring assistance and additional insight to the board (and) we are pleased that Ardent can now focus on executing its stated strategy to drive performance.”

The Ariadne-led campaign had flagged its intention to continue to agitate for change and the Ardent move may have been influenced by the widespread proxy support it claimed, and a desire to avoid a combative extraordinary general meeting today.

Following the announcement, Dr Weiss, who will work alongside US restaurant expert Richmond to the deliver the benefits of their proposed $1 billion turnaround plan, commented “I look forward to working collaboratively with the board to deliver value for the benefit of all Ardent security holders.”

The pair unveiled a rescue plan for the company in July aimed at restoring confidence in Queensland theme park Dreamworld and reinvigorating Ardent’s struggling US business, Main Event, before exploring a sale or float of that unit in America in three years.

An analysis of Ardent by the pair, who at first pushed for four board seats and then trimmed this back to two seats, proposed the embattled company chart a new course.

Dr Weiss, a famed corporate raider, said at the time it was critical for Ardent’s board to be strengthened after the incumbent directors had presided over a substantial loss of value.

He predicted the bulk of the financial gains could come from getting the US operations firing and that substantial value could be realised at Dreamworld.

Following last October’s Dreamworld tragedy, the group went on to post a net loss of $62.6 million for the last financial year (compared to its net profit of $42.4 million in the 2015/16 financial year).

The company said the result was "significantly impacted by the Dreamworld tragedy and the park's subsequent shutdown for 45 days".

Ardent Leisure's business has also been under pressure more recently due to Tropical Storm Harvey.

The natural disaster has resulted in the closure of Ardent's 'Main Event' chain of entertainment centres in Texas due to "varying degrees of damage".

The company said the five centres - which offer bowling, laser skirmish and indoor climbing - gave been closed since 26th August.

Ariadne holds a 10.9% stake in Ardent. 

27th August 2017 - DREAMWORLD TRAGEDY HIGHLIGHTS LEGAL DUTY OF CARE FOR THEME PARK GUESTS

26th July 2017 - ARDENT LEISURE SHAREHOLDER ARIADNE CALLS FOR $25 MILLION IN NEW ATTRACTIONS AT DREAMWORLD

11th July 2017 - DREAMWORLD BATTLES INCONSISTENT ATTENDANCES AND FALLING REVENUES

30th June 2017 - DREAMWORLD LAUNCHES AFTER DARK THRILL EXPERIENCE 

10th June 2017 - DEBORAH THOMAS DEPARTS ARDENT LEISURE

2nd June 2017 - DREAMWORLD ANNOUNCES WINTER PROMOTIONS AND RECONCILIATION ACTIVITIES

24th May 2017 - ARDENT LOOKS TO QUASH DREAMWORLD SALE RUMOURS, EXPLORES SITE REZONING PLAN

9th May 2017 - DREAMWORLD SUFFERS FURTHER ATTENDANCE AND REVENUE SLUMP 

27th April 2017 - DEBORAH THOMAS TO STEP ASIDE AS ARDENT LEISURE CHIEF EXECUTIVE

16th April 2017 - CONSULTING ENGINEER REBUTS AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S WEEKLY RIDE SAFETY ‘INVESTIGATION’

6th April 2017 - AALARA 2017 CONFERENCE PROGRAM FOCUSES ON ATTRACTIONS SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE 

4th April 2017 - ARDENT LEISURE CHIEF EXECUTIVE ‘APPEARED TO BE DUCKING FOR COVER’ FOLLOWING DREAMWORLD FATALITIES 

13th March 2017 - PARKZ WEBSITE LAUNCHES SUPPORT OUR THEME PARKS CAMPAIGN 

10th December 2016 - GUESTS TRICKLE BACK AS DREAMWORLD REOPENS 

29th October 2016 - QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT TO UNDERTAKE ‘SAFETY BLITZ’ ON THEME PARKS

28th October 2016 - DREAMWORLD DEFENDS SAFETY RECORD AFTER REVELATIONS OF PAST BREACHES

27th October 2016 - ARDENT LEISURE IN TURMOIL AFTER DREAMWORLD RIDE TRAGEDY

25th October 2016 - ARDENT LEISURE SHARES FALL AFTER DREAMWORLD TRAGEDY


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

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