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2019 NOTABLE ACQUISITIONS AND M&A ACTIVITY January • Wilmington restaurateur Ash Aziz finalized the sale of three of his restaurants to the Urban Food Group for an undisclosed amount. • P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. agreed to a purchase by investment firms TriArtisan Capital Partners Inc. and Paulson & Co. Inc. Centerbridge Partners, which owned the chain, will retain its fast-casual sister, Pei Wei. • J.H. Whitney announced it would acquire Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, a 48-unit polished casual restaurant concept which specializes in steaks, seafood and burgers.



February • Lemonade Restaurant Group and Modern Market Eatery, two health-minded fast casual brands, announced a merger and formed Modern Restaurant Concepts company. Private equity firm Butterfly coordinated the deal. • Carrols, the largest Burger King franchisee, acquired 221 restaurants from Cambridge Holdings. • New Jersey-based Turning Point Holdings, a breakfast and lunch concept operating 16 units in the Mid-Atlantic, received an investment from Larsen MacColl Partners and NewSpring Mezzanine. • Papa John’s International Inc. accepted a $200 million investment from hedge fund Starboard Value LP with an option of an additional $50 million through March 29.

April • J. Alexander’s rejected Ancora’s purchase offer. • Papa Murphy’s and MTY Food Group announced merger for $190M. • CEC Entertainment, which owns Chuck E Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza, announced it was being acquired by Leo Holdings Corp., a blank check company formed by Lion Capital. CEC is backed by Apollo Global Management. • GPS Hospitality, the Atlanta-based multi-unit operator of nearly

400 Burger King locations and 19 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchens, bought 75 Pizza Hut restaurants in four states. • Lucky Strike was acquired by Wellspring Capital. (Eatery Pulse) May • Kona Grill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.



June • Sweetgreen acquired food-delivery provider Galley Foods. (Eatery Pulse) • Fat Brands acquired Elevation Burger for $10M in cash and debt. (Eatery Pulse) • Del Frisco’s agreed to buyout from L Catterton Group for $650M. (Eatery Pulse) July • Nord Bay Capital and TriArtisan took majority stake in Hooters of America. (Eatery Pulse) • Cracker Barrel agreed to take a stake of up to $140M in fastrising Punch Bowl Social. (NRN) • Vintage capital made new, “friendly” offer for Red Robin in amount of $40 per share, valuing Red Robin at $519M. (Restaurant Business Online) • Williston Holdings purchased 24 restaurants from Kona Grill, a polished, casual-dining chain, which is in bankruptcy proceedings. Williston is controlled by Kona Grill’s former CEO, Marcus Jundt. • Cheesecake Factory buys the remainder of North Italia it doesn’t own for an additional $130M, in addition to 45-unit Fox Restaurant Concepts for $223M, including the purchase of Flower Child, but excluding a previous payment for it. (Eatery Pulse)

Source: Duff and Phelps, except where noted.


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Restaurant C-Suite Magazine | Summer 2019