bed bath & beyond
Sign at a Bed Bath & Beyond store on April 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Investors are looking to oust the company's CEO. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Shares of struggling Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. skyrocketed by as much as 30 percent Tuesday on news a group of activist investors are demanding the ouster of CEO Steven Temares and most of the board of directors.

Based in New Jersey, the 48 year-old home goods retailer saw growth shrivel to a measly 1.1 percent in 2018 compared to over 22 percent in 2003, the year Temares came on board as CEO. Equally worrying is the non-stop plunge in value of the company’s shares over the last five years. Bed & Bath shares have lost more than 85 percent of their value in that time.

This reality is the backdrop to which an investor group consisting of Legion Partners Asset Management LLC, Macellum Advisors GP LLC and Ancora Advisors LLC are demanding a change in a majority of the board. The group also slammed the company’s excessive executive pay packages and the company’s failure to hold executives accountable for their missteps.

The trio, which hold a combined five percent stake in the company, also said it wants a review of options, including a sale, for all the home furnishing retailer’s non-core brands. The sale might include brands such as Buy Buy Baby and Cost Plus World Market, said insiders quoted by media.

News of the shareholder revolt and probable management shake-up saw the company’s shares rising almost 22 percent to close at $16.92 after reaching a high of $18.09.

Analysts noted that despite a boost to capital investment over the past several years, management was slow to invest in its stores. This failure to act promptly will likely add credibility to any activist style campaign seeking changes in the board.

Bed Bath & Beyond responded to the investor revolt by assailing the non-cooperative attitude of these investors. It said it had asked several times over the past few weeks for Legion’s and Macellum’s suggestions on improving its business but hadn’t received any. Instead, it said these investors chose to publicly attack the company.

“Unfortunately, while our directors and management were seeking to engage in good faith, it appears that the Legion and Macellum representatives were merely seeking information to support their attack,” said the company.

Bed Bath & Beyond also said it’s going ahead with a “comprehensive transformation” to evolve its core business, boost shareholder value and position the company for long-term success.