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UPDATE: Steak n Shake stock loses gains

March 12, 2008

Shares of Steak n Shake Co. ended the day largely unchanged at $8.06 after rising nearly 3 percent through mid-day trading.

The Indianapolis company early this afternoon announced that two outside shareholders bumped two directors off the board, including the chairman and acting CEO.

Sardar Biglari and Phillip Cooley, who represent the Texas-based Lion Fund, each received 15.7 million votes, compared to the 5.5 million each for Chairman Alan Gilman and James Williamson Jr.

All nine Steak n Shake board seats were up for election at the company's annual meeting last week. Biglari, Cooley and the nine incumbent directors were vying for the slots. The top nine vote-getters won seats.

The results confirmed a statement issued Friday by Biglari shortly after the shareholders' meeting that his incursion had succeeded by an overwhelming margin.

Biglari and Cooley bombarded shareholders through messages, including local billboards that the company has been badly mismanaged.

Biglari, 30, heads the San Antonio-based Lion Fund, and Cooley, 65, a business professor, is an adviser to the fund. The fund owns 8.5 percent of Steak n Shake stock.

In a statement, Director Wayne Kelley said, "
We welcome the new members to our board and look forward to working together constructively to execute on our current promising initiatives to improve operational performance. We are encouraged by the shareholders' strong support for the existing board members, and also appreciate their desire to add additional perspective to the board as we move forward."

Steak n Shake has struggled with 10 straight quarters of declining same-store sales.

Among factors blamed for the declining sales was economic conditions that persuaded customers to choose fast food.

The company, long known for its hamburgers and milkshakes, has said it is focusing on improving its existing stores as a turnaround strategy.

The focus on its core business followed consultation with the Wall Street firm Merrill Lynch and a determination that buyout offers for the company were too low.

Gilman, the chairman, filled in as CEO after CEO Peter Dunn resigned abruptly following another quarter of declining sales.

T
he stock traded above $20 as recently as early 2006, but began declining and then eroded quickly late last year as the company's troubles unfolded.

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