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Landry’s chairman ups buyout offer again

Landry’s Restaurants Inc. said Tuesday that its chairman, Tilman J. Fertitta, has upped his offer to take the restaurant and gaming company private from $14.75 per share to $21 per share, or about $341 million.

Landry’s said in a statement that Fertitta, who has been courting the company for years, increased his offer after conducting “lengthy negotiations” with a special board committee and reaching a tentative agreement with plaintiffs who had filed a lawsuit in Delaware over derivative claims.

In the past 52 weeks, Landry’s shares have traded between $7.75 and $25.35. Shares closed at $23.47 on Tuesday, down 6.2 percent from Monday’s close of $25.03 a share.

Fertitta’s latest offer still must be approved by the board’s special committee, the entire Landry’s board and a majority of shareholders of common stock not held by Fertitta, who holds more than 55 percent of the company’s shares.

Fertitta has been trying for more than two years to take Landry’s private. A $23.50-per-share deal was first proposed in January 2008, but it was modified as the economy fell into a deep recession. The deal was halted in early 2009, when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission required financing information from lenders, which the company considered confidential. Landry’s said disclosure of the lending information would imperil refinancing of what at the time was about $400 million in senior debt.

Fertitta’s November bid drew opposition from activist investor Willaim Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management and affiliates, who acquired a large stake in Landry’s shares late last year.

Landry’s has diverse hospitality holdings, including such restaurants as Rainforest Cafe, Saltgrass Steak House, Landry's Seafood House, Charley's Crab, The Chart House and fine-dining operations in its Signature Group. It also owns the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casinos in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada.

Last Friday, Landry’s said it was offering $47 million in 11 5/8-percent secured notes, with proceeds of about $49.8 million to finance the purchase of the 12-unit Oceanaire Inc. out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Landry’s had submitted a $23.6 million stalking-horse bid for the upscale seafood chain based in Minneapolis.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].

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