Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants is acquiring Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurant chain in an all cash-deal worth $715 million.
Darden announced Wednesday that it entered into a merger agreement with Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc., which owns Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and will acquire all outstanding shares of the company for $21.50 per share.
|DRI||DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC.||151.47||-0.36||-0.24%|
|RUTH||RUTH’S HOSPITALITY GROUP INC.||21.48||+5.45||+34.00%|
Darden’s portfolio already includes Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s.
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The original Chris Steak House was opened on New Orleans’ Broad Street in 1927 but was later acquired by Ruth Fertel in 1965.
Today, there are 154 locations worldwide. There are 80 company-owned or -operated restaurants and 74 franchised restaurants which collectively generate systemwide sales of over $860 million in fiscal year 2022, according to Darden.
“Ruth’s Chris is a strong and distinctive brand in the fine dining segment with an impressive history of delivering elevated dining experiences to their loyal guests,” Darden CEO Rick Cardenas said.
The restaurant, known for its signature steaks, “fits the criteria we have for adding a brand to our portfolio and supports our winning strategy.”
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Ruth’s Hospitality Group, like most, struggled during the early days of the pandemic when it had to temporarily shutter locations and furlough workers. In April 2020, it repaid $20 million in coronavirus aid it received from the federal government after the Treasury Department asked publicly traded companies to return the funds meant for smaller businesses.
Shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group closed 34% higher on Wednesday. Darden shares were flat.
The deal was unanimously approved by both companies’ boards and is expected to close in June.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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