REVISITING OUR LIST OF QUESTIONABLE RESTAURANT TRANSACTIONS!

On July 20th, I published a list of 13 restaurant transactions over the past three years asking the question; how many companies on this list will need to raise equity or file bankruptcy in the next 12-18 months? Today, the WSJ highlighted some of the companies on the list.

According to the WSJ, the parent of Uno Chicago Grill will skip a bond payment on Friday as it tries to negotiate more financial breathing room. The issues at Uno are a common theme in restaurant land – UNO is being squeezed by declining customer counts, rising food costs and an overleveraged balance sheet. Not surprisingly, Uno was acquired in a leveraged-buyout in January 2005 by Centre Partners and management. Uno Chief Financial Officer Louie Psallidas commented that "We are not in any imminent danger of filing for bankruptcy."

The article also cited Chevy’s Fresh Mex, Perkins and Marie Callender's chains are also in talks with their lenders. Additionally, Real Mex Restaurants Inc., which owns the Chevys, El Torito Grill, Acapulco Mexican restaurants and other regional chains is also struggling. Real Mex and its subsidiaries is one of the largest operators of full-service Mexican restaurants in the country with about 200 restaurants. Another positive data point for EAT?

Real Mex was acquired in August 2006 for $359 million by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners. Perkins & Marie Callender's Inc., the parent company of the two namesake chains are owned by private-equity fund Castle Harlan.

On top of all this, Bennigan's, Steak and Ale, Vicorp Restaurants Inc.'s, Bakers Square and Village Inn chains have filed for liquidation or bankruptcy protection.
The Chart we published on July 20th

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