Joe's Crab Shack Back In Fertitta's Claws After Bankruptcy Auction
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Landry's won a bankruptcy auction for the assets of Ignite Restaurant Group, the distressed operator of Joe's Crab Shack and Brick Houston Tavern + Tap. Landry's offered $57M, beating out the next highest bidder by just $100K, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Though still pending approval from the court, the winning bid caps off a contentious back-and-forth between the two companies. In 2006, Landry's CEO Tilman Fertitta sold Joe's Crab Shack to Ignite through a private equity firm for $192M. When Ignite decided to let the assets go, Landry's insisted it should be selected as the preferred bidder in court.
Problems started when Fertitta's bid dropped from $60M to $50M, as reps said Landry's could not justify a higher price for two struggling restaurant chains. Ignite then chose California-based private equity firm KRG as its preferred bidder. Ignite said when it attempted to renegotiate, it was snubbed by Fertitta.
"The day I sold Joe's Crab Shack was one of the happiest days of my life," Fertitta allegedly said. "Good luck."
When the deal is finalized, Landry's will operate over 630 restaurant/hotel/casino/entertainment destinations in 35 states.