Legion Partners Comments on Primo Water's Attempt to Disenfranchise Shareholders
Legion Partners Asset Management, LLC, together with its affiliates (collectively, "we" or "Legion Partners"), is a significant shareholder of Primo Water Corporation ("Primo", or the "Company") (TSX/NYSE: PRMW). Today, Legion Partners issued the following statement regarding the Company's rejection of Legion Partners' nomination of four independent, highly-qualified director candidates to the Primo Board of Directors (the "Board"):
"Primo's attempted invalidation of our nomination notice and misleading personal attacks on our director candidates are nothing more than transparent and aggressive entrenchment tactics. We believe these desperate maneuvers only underscore the Company's lack of confidence in how its investors will vote in a contested election. Primo is seeking to avoid being held accountable by distracting shareholders from the facts.
It is also important to set the record straight. Yesterday morning, Primo's legal counsel contacted Legion Partners and informed us of the Board's plan to invalidate the nominations and publicize "embarrassing" information about Legion Partners' candidates unless we revoked our nominations. Subsequently, we sent a letter to Primo's counsel making clear our view that the supposed issues they had cited were not material, that the allegations against our nominees were misleading and that we had no intention of being intimidated into withdrawing our campaign.
The claims made against our nominee Henrik Jelert relate to a nearly 30-year-old false accusation involving a state-owned enterprise in Eastern Europe. Mr. Jelert was acquitted multiple times of the same baseless allegation - during a period of history when it was extremely rare for individuals to prevail in cases brought by the State. Further, the false allegation clearly did not interfere with his continued employment with his then-employer, where he worked for another six years after the accusation, nor has it been an impediment to his distinguished career over the past decades. This incident and Mr. Jelert's innocence is a matter of public record, and in fact he spoke openly about it in an interview with the leading Danish financial media outlet, which can be found here. Importantly, we do not believe Mr. Jelert was required by the Company's questionnaire to disclose the false accusation, as it is not material information under either Canadian or U.S. federal securities laws.
We believe what shareholders care about is this: Primo has a long history of underperformance under its current long-tenured Board, and baseless claims cannot distract from that. The replacement of one retiring director announced by the Company yesterday clearly falls far short of the level of change needed for Primo to reach its potential - a fact only underscored by the anti-shareholder actions taken today. Legion Partners intends to vigorously pursue all avenues available to protect the rights of shareholders and ensure that they will have the opportunity to support Legion Partners' slate of directors."
About Legion Partners
Legion Partners is an activist investment manager based in Los Angeles, CA, focused on U.S. small-cap companies. Legion Partners seeks to generate attractive long-term returns employing deep fundamental research, a concentrated portfolio and responsible, collaborative engagement as a catalyst for value creation. Founded in 2012, Legion Partners takes a value-driven approach to managing a high-conviction portfolio on behalf of sophisticated institutional and individual investors. Learn more at www.legionpartners.com.
CERTAIN INFORMATION CONCERNING THE PARTICIPANTS
Legion Partners Holdings, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company ("Legion Partners Holdings"), together with the other participants named herein, intend to file a preliminary proxy statement (the "Preliminary Proxy Statement") and accompanying WHITE proxy card with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") in connection with the anticipated solicitation of votes for the election of its slate of highly-qualified director nominees at the 2023 annual meeting ("Annual Meeting") of shareholders of Primo Water Corporation, a corporation continued under the laws of the Province of Ontario (the "Company"). As permitted by Rule 14a-6 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, following the filing of the Preliminary Proxy Statement with the SEC, Legion Partners Holdings, together with the other participants named herein, intend to file a definitive proxy statement (the "Definitive Proxy Statement") and accompanying WHITE proxy card with the SEC to be used to solicit votes for the election of its slate of highly-qualified director nominees at the Annual Meeting, which Definitiv Proxy Statement will constitute a "dissident information circular" for purposes of applicable Canadian corporate and securities laws and will be filed with the applicable Canadian securities regulators and sent to the Company's shareholders.
LEGION PARTNERS HOLDINGS STRONGLY ADVISES ALL SHAREHOLDERS OF THE COMPANY TO READ THE DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT AND OTHER PROXY MATERIALS AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. SUCH PROXY MATERIALS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT NO CHARGE ON THE SEC'S WEB SITE AT HTTP://WWW.SEC.GOV AND ON THE COMPANY'S PROFILE ON SEDAR AT HTTPS://SEDAR.COM, AND WILL BE SENT TO THE COMPANY, THE COMPANY'S AUDITOR AND SHAREHOLDERS OF THE COMPANY IN COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE RULES. IN ADDITION, THE PARTICIPANTS NAMED HEREIN WILL PROVIDE COPIES OF THE DEFINITIVE PROXY STATEMENT WITHOUT CHARGE, WHEN AVAILABLE, UPON REQUEST. REQUESTS FOR COPIES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE PARTICIPANTS' PROXY SOLICITOR.
The participants in the proxy solicitation are anticipated to be Legion Partners Holdings, Legion Partners, L.P. I, a Delaware limited partnership ("Legion Partners I"), Legion Partners, L.P. II, a Delaware limited partnership ("Legion Partners II"), Legion Partners, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company ("Legion Partners GP"), Legion Partners Asset Management, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company ("Legion Partners Asset Management"), Christopher S. Kiper, Raymond T. White (collectively, the "Legion Group"), Timothy P. Hasara, Henrik Jelert, Derek Lewis and Lori T. Marcus.
As of the date hereof, Legion Partners I directly beneficially owns 2,134,328 shares of Common Shares, no par value per share, of the Company (the "Common Stock"). As of the date hereof, Legion Partners II directly beneficially owns 187,137 shares of Common Stock. As the general partner of each of Legion Partners I and Legion Partners II, Legion Partners GP may be deemed to beneficially own the 2,321,465 shares of Common Stock beneficially owned in the aggregate by Legion Partners I and Legion Partners II. As the investment advisor of each of Legion Partners I and Legion Partners II, Legion Partners Asset Management may be deemed to beneficially own the 2,321,465 shares of Common Stock beneficially owned in the aggregate by Legion Partners I and Legion Partners II. As of the date hereof, Legion Partners Holdings directly beneficially owns 200 shares of Common Stock and, as the sole member of each of Legion Partners Asset Management and Legion Partners GP, Legion Partners Holdings may also be deemed to beneficially own the 2,321,465 shares of Common Stock beneficially owned in the aggregate by Legion Partners I and Legion Partners II. As a managing director of Legion Partners Asset Management and managing member of Legion Partners Holdings, each of Messrs. Kiper and White may be deemed to beneficially own the 2,321,465 shares of Common Stock beneficially owned in the aggregate by Legion Partners I and Legion Partners II and 200 shares of Common Stock held of record by Legion Partners Holdings. As of the date hereof, Mr. Jelert beneficially owns 30,000 shares of Common Stock. As of the date hereof, Mr. Hasara beneficially owns 40,000 shares of Common Stock. As of the date hereof, Mr. Lewis beneficially owns 1,700 shares of Common Stock in an account jointly held with his spouse. As of the date hereof, Ms. Marcus beneficially owns 100 shares of Common Stock in an account jointly held with her spouse.
Information in Support of Public Broadcast Exemption under Canadian Law
The information contained in this press release does not and is not meant to constitute a solicitation of a proxy within the meaning of applicable corporate and securities laws. Shareholders of the Company are not being asked at this time to execute a proxy in favour of Legion Partners Holdings' director nominees. In connection with the Annual Meeting, Legion Partners Holdings, together with the other participants named herein, intend to file a dissident information circular in due course in compliance with applicable corporate and securities laws. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Legion Partners Holdings, together with the other participants named herein, has voluntarily provided in or incorporated by reference into this press release the disclosure required under section 9.2(4) of National Instrument 51-102 - Continuous Disclosure Obligations ("NI 51-102") and has filed a document (the "Document") containing disclosure prescribed by applicable corporate law and disclosure required under section 9.2(6) of NI 51-102 in respect of Legion Partners Holdings' director nominees, in accordance with corporate and securities laws applicable to public broadcast solicitations. The Document is hereby incorporated by reference into this press release and is available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. The registered office of the Company is 1200 Britannia Road East, Mississauga, ON L4W 4T5 Canada. The executive head office of the Company is 1150 Assembly Drive, Suite 800, Tampa, FL 33607 United States.
This press release and any solicitation made by Legion Partners Holdings, together with the other participants named herein, in advance of the Annual Meeting is, or will be, as applicable, made by such parties, and not by or on behalf of the management of the Company. Proxies may be solicited by proxy circular, mail, telephone, telecopier, email or other electronic means, as well as by newspaper or other media advertising and in person by managers, directors, officers and employees of Legion Partners Holdings and/or the other participants named herein who will not be specifically remunerated therefor. In addition, Legion Partners Holdings, together with the other participants named herein, may solicit proxies by way of public broadcast, including press release, speech or publication and any other manner permitted under applicable Canadian laws, and may engage the services of one or more agents and authorize other persons to assist it in soliciting proxies on their behalf. The costs incurred in the preparation and mailing of any proxy circular or proxy solicitation by Legion Partners Holdings and the other participants named herein will be borne directly and indirectly by the Legion Group. In the event any of Legion Partners Holdings' director nominees are elected or appointed to the board of directors of the Company, the Legion Group intends to seek reimbursement from the Company of all expenses it incurs in connection with the solicitation of proxies for the election of the Nominees to the board of directors of the Company at the Annual Meeting. If such reimbursement is approved by the Board, the Legion Group does not intend to submit the question of such reimbursement to a vote of security holders of the Company.
Legion Partners Holdings has entered into an agreement with Saratoga Proxy Consulting LLC ("Saratoga") for solicitation and advisory services in connection with the solicitation, for which Saratoga will receive a fee not to exceed $125,000, together with reimbursement for its reasonable and out-of-pocket expenses, and will be indemnified against certain liabilities and expenses, including certain liabilities under the federal securities laws. Saratoga will solicit proxies from individuals, brokers, banks, bank nominees and other institutional holders. It is anticipated that Saratoga will employ approximately 20 persons to solicit the Company's shareowners for the Annual Meeting.
None of Legion Partners Holdings nor any of the other participants named herein is requesting that Company shareholders submit a proxy at this time. Once a formal solicitation of proxies in connection with the Annual Meeting has commenced, proxies may be revoked by a registered holder of Company shares (i) by completing and signing a valid proxy bearing a later date and returning it in accordance with the instructions contained in the accompanying form of proxy; (ii) by depositing an instrument in writing executed by the shareholder or by their attorney authorized in writing; (iii) by transmitting by telephonic or electronic means a revocation that is signed by electronic signature in accordance with applicable law, as the case may be: (a) at the registered office of the Company at any time up to and including the last business day preceding the day the Annual Meeting or any adjournment or postponement of the Annual Meeting is to be held, or (b) with the Chair of the Annual Meeting on the day of the Annual Meeting or any adjournment or postponement of the Annual Meeting; or (iv) in any other manner permitted by law. In addition, proxies may be revoked by a non-registered holder of Company shares at any time by written notice to the intermediary in accordance with the instructions given to the non-registered holder by its intermediary.
None of Legion Partners Holdings nor any of the other participants named herein nor any of their associates or affiliates (i) has any material interest, direct or indirect, by way of beneficial ownership of securities of the Company or otherwise, in any matter to be acted upon at the Annual Meeting, other than the election of directors, or (ii) has had any material interest, direct or indirect, in any transaction or proposed transaction since the commencement of the Company's last financial year that has materially affected or would or could materially affect the Company or any of its subsidiaries.
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