Angelo, Gordon & Co to buy Japanese sushi restaurant chain Benihana for 296 mn

Miami, Florida-based Benihana owns and operates 62 namesake restaurants, 8 Haru sushi restaurants and 25 RA Sushi restaurants. Another 16 Benihana restaurants are franchised in the US, Latin America and the Caribbean.

New York-based Angelo, Gordon & Co will pay $16.30 per share in cash, representing a premium 23 per cent to Benihana's closing share price on 21 May.

Under the terms of the agreement, Benihana can solicit alternative proposals during the next 40 days.

Benihana reported sales of $91.9 million in the quarter ended 1 April, up from $81.4 million in the year-earlier quarter. Same-store sales increased 6 per cent, 2.1 per cent at RA Sushi and 2.4 per cent at Haru.

Benihana's chairman, president and CEO Richard Stockinger said, "This is a win for our growing base of loyal customers who enjoy our restaurants every day, and for our future customers in markets hungry for the dramatic, high-quality Japanese dining that only our brands can deliver. After evaluating the company's strategic alternatives, we are pleased to reach agreement with Angelo Gordon. We feel that this transaction with Angelo Gordon recognises the value of the Benihana brands and delivers a significant cash premium to the company's shareholders."

''Benihana has a great brand heritage and delivers a unique customer experience across its three restaurant concepts," said Richard Leonard, a managing director at Angelo Gordon. "We believe the market for Japanese cuisine is significant and expanding, and our plan is to help the company realise its growth potential over the next several years."