CHATTANOOGA Tenn. The Krystal Co., operator of the namesake regional burger chain, said it has ended discussions about a possible sale of the company. None of the suitors were disclosed.
Krystal announced last summer that it had retained Credit-Suisse First Boston Group to find a buyer for the privately owned concern. It said at the time that information was being shared with potential buyers, who were not identified.
Krystal is owned by a Tennessee-based investment group that includes former Wendy's operator and one-time Pennant Foods CEO Fred Exum. They bought the burger brand from the founding Davenport family for $108 million and the assumption of about $30 million in debt in 1997. The chain numbered 350 stores at the time. The count has since passed 430 outlets in 12 states.
In lieu of a sale, said president and chief executive James Exum, Krystal will "aggressively expand our business, and we'll do so primarily through the development of company-owned stores." More than half of the Krystal system is company-operated, according to numbers disclosed last year by the company. Exem did not say how that expansion would be financed.
Krystal stores currently operate in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.