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Darden Facing New Investor Unrest:WSJ

A second activist investor could seek a broad breakup of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI), days after the Orlando-based restaurant operator said it is looking to sell or spin-off its struggling Red Lobster chain, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Starboard Value LP has taken a 5.6 percent holding in Darden, which it plans to disclose in a regulatory filing Monday, the report said citing people familiar with the matter.

The investment firm is believed to be of the view that Darden's move on Red Lobster is short of what is required to boost the company's shares.

Darden could be faced with call for a more dramatic breakup of the company as well as demand for splitting off its real-estate holdings.

Under pressure from activist shareholders complaining the company has gotten too large to effectively manage, Darden said on December 19 that it plans to suspend acquisitions and stop opening new Olive Garden locations.

Darden also said it would scale back plans to open more of its profitable LongHorn Steak restaurants.

The company last week reported a profit for the second quarter that declined 41 percent from last year, with earnings and sales falling short of Wall Street estimates.

DRI closed up 0.1 percent on Friday at $51.09.

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