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Buffalo Wild Wings Lands $2.3B Takeover Bid

Private equity firm Roark Capital Group has made an offer of more than $150 per share to acquire one of the largest sports bar chains in the United States. 


Roark is pursuing Buffalo Wild Wings with a $2.3B bid. The restaurant chain is known for its chicken wings and beer and, with a closing share price Monday of $117.30 per share, is valued at $1.4B. Barclays Plc is working with Roark on the financial negotiations while Goldman Sachs Group is working with Buffalo Wild Wings, the Wall Street Journal reports

The Minneapolis-based chain has more than 1,200 locations globally but has experienced less foot traffic and rising chicken prices as of late coupled with the critique of an activist investor, Marcato Capital Management L.P. Buffalo Wild Wings shareholders voted Marcato’s founder and two of its nominees to the board in June, and they have voiced a desire for the company to franchise more stores to boost profit margins and sales. 

The company owned 638 of its restaurants at the end of Q3. Marcato has pushed for the company to increase its franchise store count from 50% to 90%. The move would bode well under Roark, which is partial to franchise-focused companies with investments in Arby’s and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. 

Marcato also pushed to find a new chief executive for the company. Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith announced in June she would retire after nearly 21 years in the role by the end of the year. 

Buffalo Wild Wings is not the first chicken establishment on Roark’s wish list. The firm previously tried to buy Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen but lost the bidding war to Restaurant Brands International Inc., the same firm that owns Burger King and Tim Hortons. 

The chicken chain buyout offer comes days after news broke that European investment firm JAB Holding Co., which agreed in April to acquire Panera Bread for $7.16B, was acquiring Au Bon Pain for an undisclosed sum.