On the menu at Hooters: Chicken, cleavage… and cancer drugs

The parent company that owns Hooters is “acquiring” a company that develops cancer drugs in a stranger-than-fiction reverse merger.


October 14, 2019

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Hooters: The restaurant of choice for spicy chicken wings, cold beer, cleavage-baring waitresses, and… cutting-edge cancer drugs?! 

The parent company of the Hooters restaurant chain, Chanticleer Holdings — which lists on the Nasdaq under the ticker “BURG” — combined (via reverse merger) with Sonnet BioTherapeutics, a cancer drug developer. 

If it sounds crazy, it is… 

But that’s the way reverse mergers work, baybeeee

What’s actually going on here? Well, reverse mergers are a way for private companies — like Sonnet BioTherapeutics — to go public without going to all the trouble of holding an IPO. 

Usually, businesses that want to reverse merge look for struggling public companies whose public shell they can inhabit — like hungry, corporate hermit crabs. 

In this case, Sonnet chose a greasy, greasy shell

Chanticleer Holdings made the perfect reverse merger target: The company’s stock has fallen from a high of more than $35 per share to less than $1 per share. 

Some analysts point to an overall decline in the popularity of fast-casual dining as the cause of Hooters’ slump — or maybe a publicly traded chicken wing company built around staring at women’s breasts was just never that cool in the first place

In any case, the company formerly known as Hooters will wear decidedly different corporate clothes — that is, it will go by SONN instead of BURG on the Nasdaq. 

As for the chain of chicken joints? Apparently, it’s not possible to scrub away all that grease overnight: The company plans to spin off its “restaurant assets” into another company that will be owned by current shareholders.

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