Committee to rescue Reed's issues statement on settlement discussions
The Committee to Rescue Reed's commented on its recent good-faith efforts to work with Chairman and CEO Chris Reed to reach a mutually agreeable director slate and avoid a proxy contest at the 2016 Annual Meeting of Reed's. The Committee issued the following statement: "For the past several weeks, we have been working with Chris Reed to see if we could arrive at a mutually agreeable Board slate to avoid a costly and protracted proxy contest at the upcoming 2016 Annual Meeting. We are appreciative of the efforts of two significant shareholders in mediating this process, Joseph Grace and David Robinov, both of whom previously served as members on the Reed's Board. Both the Committee and Mr. Reed encouraged and fully supported a process whereby Messrs. Grace and Robinov were to interview and properly vet candidates put forth by each party and to, on the basis of the aforementioned vetting process, recommend a qualified, unified slate of Board nominees. While the independent mediators contacted, interviewed and quickly vetted all five candidates put forth by the Committee, Mr. Reed failed to provide the names and contact information for the Company's recommended nominees. Mr. Reed did, however, volunteer the name of Bruce Nierenberg for inclusion as a possible Board nominee. Messrs. Grace and Robinov were successful in their efforts to contact, interview, and vet Mr. Nierenberg. Further, according to a recent BevNET article, Mr. Reed also announced the possibility of John Bello joining the Board, but Mr. Bello reportedly refused to be vetted by the independent mediators. After numerous requests to Mr. Reed and missed milestones regarding delivery of the Board's proposed nominees, the mediators submitted a seven-member Board recommendation consisting of the Committee's five nominees along with Bruce Nierenberg and Mr. Reed. This recommendation was, unfortunately, ignored and the settlement discussions have ceased as of October 6th. Consequently, the Committee continues preparations for a proxy contest at the upcoming 2016 Annual Meeting. Despite the recent setback, the Committee remains hopeful that an expanded, mutually agreeable slate of nominees will ultimately be agreed upon by the parties. It is the sincere desire of the Committee to avoid a long and potentially destructive proxy contest. However, chances for arriving at such a unified slate are quickly dissipating, as filing deadlines loom. The Committee has had discussions with several significant shareholders of Reed's, all of whom share our serious concerns regarding the Company's poor financial performance and serious corporate governance deficiencies. We encourage any Reed's shareholders who may share our concerns to contact us at the numbers listed below. We look forward to your support at the 2016 Annual Meeting. In order to address the Company's serious shortcomings, the Committee previously nominated a highly qualified team of director candidates, including Jeffrey T. Glidden, Jeffrey V. Hembrock, Edwin R. Lozano, James G. McRitchie and Mathew D. Tekulsky, who are committed to dramatically improving Reed's operating performance and instituting 'best-in-class' governance practices at Reed's."