Exterior of a Buffalo Wild Wings, with is the target of a private equity takeover bid. / Bloomberg Exterior of a Buffalo Wild Wings, with is the target of a private equity takeover bid. / Bloomberg

Buffalo Wild Wings Gets Takeover Offer by Private Equity Firm

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. has received a takeover offer from Roark Capital Group that values the restaurant chain at more than $2.3 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Roark’s offer exceeds $150 on a per-share basis, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. The proposal was made on Oct. 13 at a 48 percent premium to Buffalo Wild Wings’s share price at the time, the person said. While Buffalo Wild Wings has acknowledged receipt of the bid, the two companies haven’t held talks about a potential deal, the person said.

The chicken-wing chain’s stock surged as much as 30 percent in late trading Monday after the Wall Street Journal first reported the approach.

Representatives for Buffalo Wild Wings didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Roark declined to comment.

The report follows a tumultuous year for Buffalo Wild Wings, which lost a proxy fight with activist investor Marcato Capital Management in June — a battle that caused longtime Chief Executive Officer Sally Smith to announce her resignation. The Minneapolis-based company came under fire after a sales slump was exacerbated by higher prices for chicken wings.

The stock climbed as high as $153 in extended trading in the wake of the WSJ report. The company’s shares had lost value in each of the past two years, following a seven-year streak of gains.

Roark Capital, a private equity firm, is a prominent player in the restaurant industry, with investments in chains such as Arby’s, Cinnabon, Carvel and Auntie Anne’s.

Popeyes Bid

Arby’s previously made a bid for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc., with backing from Roark, people familiar with the matter said earlier this year. The suitors were ultimately trumped by Restaurant Brands International Inc., which bought the fried-chicken chain for about $1.8 billion.

In going after Buffalo Wild Wings, the investment firm is eyeing a company on the rebound.

Last month, the company boosted its earnings forecast — helped by an effort to cut costs. The company also is selling more boneless chicken wings, rather than the traditional variety. That’s helped Buffalo Wild Wings sidestep a surge in wing prices.

“We are optimistic these actions will deliver an improving bottom line,” Smith, who plans to retire by the end of the year, said last month.

With assistance from Kiel Porter


©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Craig Giammona and Ed Hammond from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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