May 27, 2009
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Saks investor says proxy firms back its proposals

May 27, 2009

Saks Fifth Avenue in New York

NEW YORK, May 26 (Reuters) - Two proxy advisory firms have recommended that shareholders of Saks Inc (SKS.N) support initiatives pushed by a hedge fund aimed at making the luxury retailer's board more accountable to shareholders.

The proposals by P. Schoenfeld Asset Management, which owns about 1.5 percent of Saks' shares, include having all directors elected annually rather than on a staggered basis.

P. Schoenfeld, run by Peter Schoenfeld, is also asking shareholders to withold votes for the re-election of director C. Warren Neel, and to only elect a director if a majority of shareholders vote for the candidates.

In a report dated May 22, proxy adviser RiskMetrics Group recommended that shareholders withold support for Neel and three other continuing directors at the June 3 annual meeting, since the board adopted a poison pill in November without letting shareholders vote on it.

Proxy adviser Glass Lewis said in a report obtained by Reuters that it supported the proposals put forward by P.Schoenfeld and urged shareholders to withhold votes from Neel as well as other director nominees.

On Tuesday 26 May, P. Schoenfeld sent a letter to Saks shareholders saying it planned to reach out to Saks' largest shareholders to encourage them to talk to Saks about adding two new directorships and appointing individuals recommended by them or other major shareholders to fill new positions.

Saks' largest shareholders include billionaire investor Carlos Slim Helu and Diego Della Valle, chief executive of Italian retailer Tods SpA (TOD.MI).

Saks could not be immediately reached for comment.

Saks shares closed up 5 percent, or 20 cents, at $4.14 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Martinne Geller and Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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