Apollo Global Management Inc. agreed to buy The Restaurant Group Plc, the owner of Wagamama, for £506 million ($623 million), after activist shareholders complained about the company’s strategy and ailing stock price.
(Bloomberg) — Apollo Global Management Inc. agreed to buy The Restaurant Group Plc, the owner of Wagamama, for £506 million ($623 million), after activist shareholders complained about the company’s strategy and ailing stock price.
Investors will receive 65 pence a share in cash, the companies said Thursday. That’s 34% higher than Wednesday’s closing price. Apollo is making the purchase through its funds.
The Restaurant Group has more than 400 restaurants and pubs across the UK, including chains such as Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and Brunning & Price. Last month, TRG agreed to sell Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito to the Big Table Group, a UK restaurant operator owned by private equity firm Epiris, in a deal for 75 restaurant sites that’s set to close at the end of October.
TRG shares rose as much as 38% when the market opened in London, trading slightly above the bid price and suggesting that some investors expect an improved offer. The bid values TRG at about nine times its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the year through July 2.
The stock had fallen more than 90% from its peak in 2015. The company has had a volatile few years including the pandemic which led to months of closures for its outlets. It has also faced unrest from two activist investors, including Hong Kong-based Oasis Management and Irenic Capital Management.
Oasis has voiced concerns over Restaurant Group’s disappointing share price, governance failures and negative perception in the market. The investor has pledged to tender its shares in the bid, as has Irenic. Together they own more than 10% of the company’s stock.
Chairman Ken Hanna announced last month that he won’t seek reelection for personal reasons, following calls for him to resign. The group is led by Chief Executive Officer Andy Hornby, who was in charge of Halifax Bank of Scotland when it was rescued during the 2008 financial crisis.
Restaurant Group said in March and again in May that its board was conducting a strategic review. Irenic Capital said that the company still needed to launch a “formal” review process.
Lazard, Centerview and Citi advised TRG’s directors, while RBC Capital Markets was the sole financial adviser to Apollo.
(Updates with Oasis, Irenic accepting offer in sixth paragraph.)
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