Blackwells Capital, which owns a little less than 4 percent of Supervalu's common stock and is one of the company's 10 largest shareholders, issued a letter Thursday morning calling out a "lack of clear steps" at the
Jason Aintabi, a managing partner at Blackwells, said he's especially "frustrated" with Supervalu's dismal share performance of late. Ten years ago, the grocer's stock was trading above $320 a share. On Wednesday, shares closed below $16 apiece, and are down more than 50 percent in 2017.
"We take seriously all input from our shareholders," a spokesman from Supervalu told CNBC in a statement. "As we have publicly stated, we continue to evaluate and execute on various initiatives as part of our efforts to transform Supervalu and create value for our shareholders."
Blackwells said it's been attracted to Superavlu because of the chain's vast real estate holdings, which include stores and distribution centers. Aintabi has urged the company to "change direction and guide management" to a better strategic plan.
The four initiatives Blackwells has suggested Supervalu consider include selling some of the grocer's more than 17 million square feet of owned real estate, which is "worth multiples of the current capitalization of the Company," according to Aintabi.
The activist investor is asking Supervalu to sell roughly 30 percent of its stores, and to use the remaining locations for completing tasks like home delivery and meal prep.
Further, Blackwells wants a "refresh" of leadership with grocery expertise, a dividend paid to shareholders, and a share buyback plan.
"Supervalu's leadership has demonstrated a willingness to take in order to unlock value and position the Company for ongoing success," Aintabi wrote.
"In an industry under pressure, Supervalu has tremendous structural advantages and an opportunity to define, and act upon, a corporate strategy that can create long-term shareholder value," he added. "Without active and immediate change, we believe the opportunity will be lost and shareholders will continue to pay the price."
Blackwells is seeking to immediately meet with Supervalu's board and discuss its proposal.