CARLSBAD Calif. Rubio’s Restaurants Inc. received a letter late last week with an increased buyout offer of $85 million from investor Alex Meruelo and private-equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, the group that had offered $80 million for Rubio’s last October.
According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Rubio’s had yet to respond to the latest offer, which totals $8.50 per share. Rubio’s rejected the first proposal in late October, at $8 per share, saying it was not in the best interest of the company’s shareholders.
Carlsbad-based Rubio’s, which operates or franchises about 195 Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill locations, hired Cowen and Co. last year as a financial adviser to continue evaluating strategic alternatives that could enhance stockholder value, including an evaluation of any “expressions of interest” received by the company.
The company’s stock price has traded between $3.03 per share and $7.95 per share during the past 52 weeks. It closed at $7.77 Tuesday.
Investor Meruelo, with his affiliates, already owns 11.6 percent of Rubio’s common stock, making him the largest non-institutional shareholder. He is the principal shareholder, chairman and chief executive of the Meruelo Group, a minority owned and operated holding company with interests in foodservice, construction and engineering, real estate, and private equity.
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners is currently making new investments through the Levine Leichtman Capital Partners IV LP. Its restaurant holdings have included Quiznos, CiCi’s Pizza and Wetzel’s Pretzels.