Hooters of America Inc., the franchisor and operator of the Hooters casual-dining chain, completed its sale to an investor group led by Chanticleer Holdings Inc., the company said Monday.
The deal also included the purchase of Texas Wings Inc., the largest franchisee of Hooters restaurants, operating 41 locations. Together with Hooters of America’s 120 restaurants, the merged entity will operate 161 locations in 16 states. The entire Hooters system includes about 452 restaurants worldwide.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and both Hooters and Chanticleer declined to comment.
Atlanta-based Hooters of America was owned by the estate of the brand’s founder, Robert H. Brooks, and will continue to be led by his son, Cody Brooks, president and chief executive. Texas Wings was sold by majority owner Kelly Hall, who will serve on the new company’s board.
“My father built a great company. He was a visionary filled with a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit,” Brooks said in a statement. “However, he was often limited by a lack of financial resources. Since his passing [in 2006] the requirements of his estate have limited us even further.
“While it is bittersweet to see the end of my family’s ownership of the company, I know this new investment will put us in a position to grow rapidly and fully realize the potential of the Hooters brand,” he said.
Chanticleer is a Hooters franchisee in South Africa and has had its eye on the Hooters franchise and Texas Wings for some time. The North Carolina-based holding company first attempted to buy Texas Wings in 2008 for about $106 million.
The Hooters brand itself has been up for sale since last year as part of the settlement of Robert H. Brooks’ estate. Another bidder for Hooters, Wellspring Capital, pursued the chain and even attempted to block Chanticleer’s eventual winning bid through court action.
“I am pleased to finally complete this transaction and fulfill the vision I discussed many times with Mr. Brooks,” Mike Pruitt, president and chief executive of Chanticleer, said in a statement. “It was his desire to see his family’s interest protected and to see Hooters put on sound financial footings. The management team has done an amazing job of building the company and the brand despite limited resources. It will be rewarding to help carry that dream further now that the company will have the necessary resources to grow.”
Chanticleer and its limited partners will be equity holders and Pruitt will sit on the board.
Contact Sarah Lockyer at [email protected]