Engaged Capital Makes A Rather Bold Boulder Bet

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Engaged Capital has been active this week. After announced an active position at MagnaChip earlier this week, it’s now revealed a 9.6% active stake in Boulder Brands. Engaged owned under 0.7% at the end of last quarter.

The obvious plans include a sale or breakup of the company, but look for Engaged to have a convo about the board. Its co-founder and CEO quite last month and has cut 15% of its office workforce.

Boulder has been faced with a number of issues over the last year or so, including a slowdown in its Smart Balance business, larger food companies entering the gluten-free space and a poor growth via acquisitions strategy.

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In reality, Boulder’s big bet on gluten-free just isn’t panning out. Pre-packaged gluten-free products are higher in starchy calories as well as sugar and fat and considerably lower in fiber and general nutrients. While the gluten-free products do help some balance their lives with gluten allergies, you can’t live on those products alone. The gluten free fad wore off quick.

But Engaged is no stranger to the “feel good” foods story, having waged an activist campaign at Jamba Juice. Which is still its largest position – shares of Jamba are up 25% since Engaged went active a year ago.