Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday (RT) has agreed to sell itself to private equity group NRD Capital Management for $146 million, finally admitting that it can’t turn itself around after four years of continuous losses.
The mid-level chain has shuttered more than 100 locations in the last two years, but has been unable to buck a trend that has seen fellow casual dining chains like Chili’s, Applebee’s, and TGI Fridays all struggle too. The rise of delivery apps and fast-casual chains, like Chipotle Mexican Grill. and Shake Shack, has squeezed its core business of lunchtime restaurant eating from multiple angles.
The private-equity firm paying $2.40 a share, a 21% premium to where Ruby Tuesday traded at Friday’s close and 37% above where the stock was in early March, when it announced it was exploring strategic alternatives. At the stock’s peak in 2004, it was trading at $33 per share. According to MarketWatch, the deal is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2018.
“As a private company, we will be able to take a long-term view on Ruby Tuesday. allowing us to make an investments without public company constraints,” said NRD founder Aziz Hashim. MarketWatch reported that as of September, there were 599 Ruby Tuesday restaurants in 41 states (with another 14 restaurants overseas), a reduction from the 736 locations in 2015.