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Smith & Wollensky purchase completed

NEW YORK Nick Valenti and Joachim Splichal of Patina Restaurant Group, together with the private-equity firm Bunker Hill Capital, on Tuesday completed their $94.7 million acquisition of the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, the fine-dining operator based here.

The deal called for the subsequent sale of certain SWRG restaurants and management contracts to a newly formed company called Fourth Wall LLC and Alan Stillman, the acquired company's founder and chief executive at the time of Tuesday's transaction. That related sale, valued at about $6.9 million, has also been completed. Among the assets involved were leases to the Quality Meats and Park Avenue Summer restaurants, both in New York, and management contracts to Post House, Maloney & Porcelli and the original Smith & Wollensky steakhouse, all also in New York. The Smith & Wollensky prototype is owned by St. James Associates and was not part of the deal with Valenti, Splichal and Bunker Hill.

Valenti and Splichal are chief executive and founder, respectively, of Patina Restaurant Group, a caterer and operator of fine-dining restaurants on the East and West coasts. The $11-a-share buyout gives them and Bunker Hill, a Boston-based private-equity firm affiliated with Valenti, ownership of Smith & Wollensky steakhouses in Miami Beach, Fla.; Chicago; Las Vegas; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Houston; Boston; and Columbus, Ohio. The arrangement calls for the upscale properties to be managed by Patina.

The buyers have said they were scouting for new Smith & Wollensky locations even before the deal had been consummated.

Patina Restaurant Group operates a variety of high-end restaurants across the country, including the Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center in New York, Patina restaurant in the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Pinot Brasserie in Las Vegas, as well as a number of on-site foodservice accounts throughout Southern California.

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