Back to News

Activist Investing Today: R5’s Mushkin Talks Dollar Tree, Hain

Published: December 19th, 2021
Scott Mushkin, a consumer-focused researcher, discusses Mantle Ridge’s contest at Dollar Tree and compares the discount retailer’s new pricing strategy to Coca-Cola’s failed 'New Coke' endeavor.

Dollar Tree Inc.’s (DLTR) board “doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on” as it faces a total board takeover effort launched by Mantle Ridge LP, according to Scott Mushkin, founder of consumer-focused research firm R5 Capital LLC.

Mantle Ridge, run by Paul Hilal, “couldn’t have a better partner” than the one it struck with Richard Dreiling, a former Dollar General Corp. (DG) CEO, Mushkin said on the Activist Investing Today podcast.

On the podcast, Mushkin said he suspects Mantle Ridge will have some success with its efforts, especially as Dollar Tree has significantly underperformed its chief rival, Dollar General; the S&P 500 index; and other retailers.

Mantle Ridge wants to revamp Dollar Tree’s pricing strategy. After conducting surveys, Mushkin suggested that the discount retailer’s recent rollout of a price increase from $1 to $1.25 for many items could be comparable to Coca-Cola Co. (KO)’s problematic 1985 release of “New Coke.”

“Dollar Tree’s brand is so tied to ‘everything is a dollar,’ so you have to be careful about doing [multi-price] without destroying your brand,” he said.

Mushkin also discussed Engaged Capital LLC-targeted Hain Celestial Inc.’s (HAIN) M&A strategy, noting that it was unlikely that the organic foods maker will be sold to a large packaged foods company any time soon. “From our understanding, if there was an offer that was reasonable, they would definitely have considered it,” Mushkin said.

Mushkin, who was an analyst most recently at Wolfe Research, launched R5 Capital last year to provide research and strategic consulting advice to consumer-focused companies, including retailers.

Check out the podcast here:

More podcasts from The Deal are available on iTunesSpotify and on

More From Activism


Activist Spotlight: Share Lending Under Fire

By Ronald Orol
Published: December 17th, 2021
A regulatory proposal requiring big index fund managers and other institutional investors to disclose share lending programs could upend short-selling activism and drive an uptick in ESG voting.

Drinks With The Deal: Eduardo Gallardo of Gibson Dunn

By David Marcus
Published: December 16th, 2021
Eduardo Gallardo, co-chair of M&A and chair of the activist defense group at Gibson Dunn, discusses the universal proxy, the Williams case and more on this week's Drinks With The Deal podcast.

Drinks With The Deal: Willkie's Tariq Mundiya

By David Marcus
Published: December 2nd, 2021
Willkie head of litigation Tariq Mundiya discusses the Williams poison pill case from earlier this year as well as the CytoDyn decision and the evolution of Delaware's Caremark doctrine in this week's Drinks With The Deal podcast.