Last month, private equity firm Roark Capital reportedly offered Buffalo Wild Wings an unsolicited, all-cash bid that would value the company at $2.3B.
The hot wings chain, which boasts 1,237 locations in the US, has floundered in the past few years but has shown some glimmerings of promise — and it’s just the type of company Roark loves.
AKA, mediocre food joints
Roark has a long history of buying out struggling restaurant chains, including Cinnabon (2004; $12m), Arby’s (2011; $131m), Carl’s Jr. (2013, $1.7B), and, most recently, Jimmy John’s (2016, $2.3B). Earlier this year, they barely missed out on adding Popeye’s to their stable.
And when Roark punks down, they don’t screw around: they are credited with reviving Arby’s — a chain that was “left for dead” — into a thriving business (even though everyone still hates their food).
Can they do it again?
Buffalo Wild Wings has faced some troubling times recently, including the soon-to-be departure of their CEO, and a dip in sales resulting from high chicken wing prices.
Prior to this week, the chain’s shares had been on the decline for two years. But news of Roark’s offer has caused a spike of 28% — and suddenly, investors are hungry for saucy chicken again.
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