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Landry's shareholders approve buyout

Landry's shareholders approve buyout

Founder Tilman Fertitta to take company private

Shareholders of Landry's Restaurants Inc. voted Monday to approve a merger with founder and chairman Tilman J. Fertitta that would take the restaurant and gaming company private.

The transaction, which the Houston-based company valued at $1.4 billion, is expected to close Wednesday.

Fertitta, who controls about 55 percent of Landry's shares, offered $24.50 for each share he didn't already own.

In a special meeting Monday, the offer was approved by holders of a majority of shares not owned by Fertitta or company directors, Landry's said.

Fertitta, who also is president and chief executive of Landry's, has faced hurdles from both federal regulators and shareholders in his two-year effort to purchase the company, which owns several casual restaurant concepts and two casino-hotels in Nevada.

A deal initially proposed in June 2008 fell through in January 2009 when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission required financing information from lenders, which the company considered confidential.

In September 2009, Fertitta made another buyout attempt that called for the spinoff of the company's Saltgrass Steakhouse concept, an offer that Landry's board rejected. Two months later, however, the company accepted a new cash offer from Fertitta of $14.75 per share.

Fertitta increased his offer several times in an effort to win over a contentious shareholder, Pershing Square Capital Management, which had vowed to fight the merger. He finally garnered the hedge fund's support this June with the offer of $24.50 per share.

EARLIER: Tilman Fertitta ups buyout offer for Landry's again

In its latest quarter ended June 30, Landry's posted a net loss of $14.1 million, or 87 cents per share, compared with net income of $6.6 million, or 41 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding one-time charges, the company said it would have earned 20 cents per share. Second-quarter revenue rose 4.5 percent to $294.6 million.

Landry's restaurant concepts include Landry's Seafood House, Chart House, Rainforest Café, Saltgrass Steak House and Oceanaire Seafood Room, which it purchased out of bankruptcy earlier this year.

Ron Ruggless contributed to this report.

Contact Molly Gise at [email protected].

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