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Centerbridge explores sale of P.F. Chang’s Steve Anderson Photography

Centerbridge explores sale of P.F. Chang’s

Private-equity firm retains advisers for brand it bought in $1 billion deal in 2012

Private-equity firm Centerbridge Partners L.P. is exploring a sale of the P.F. Chang’s China Bistro casual-dining chain after owning it for six years and splitting off its sibling brand, the fast-casual Pei Wei Asian Kitchen.

Centerbridge and the board of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Wok Parent LLC announced Friday they had retained Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch and Barclays to oversee a possible sale of P.F. Chang’s, which it took private in a $1 billion deal in July 2012.

“Given the positive performance of P.F. Chang's Bistro and having received multiple unsolicited indications of interest, this is an exciting time to explore a sale,” said Steve Silver, global co-head of private equity at New York City-based Centerbridge, in a statement.

“We have a deep, talented team and compelling growth initiatives, including unit expansion of both our domestically operated and international franchise businesses,” Silver said.

P.F. Chang’s has 307 locations, operating 214 in the United States and franchising another 93 restaurants in 24 countries. A company spokesperson said the brand plans to open seven additional U.S. restaurants this year and several more overseas, including the first location in Pakistan later this month.

The company said P.F. Chang’s restaurants generated an average unit volume of $4.1 million in 2017. U.S. systemwide sales, according to Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 research, were an estimated $912.9 million in 2017, up from $906.2 million in the preceding year.

“We have enjoyed a very positive partnership with Centerbridge,” said Michael Osanloo, P.F. Chang’s CEO, “and are excited to tell prospective buyers about the company’s heritage, its attractive positioning in full-service Asian dining, the operational strengths of the business that we have built during Centerbridge’s ownership and its exciting growth prospects.”

The company split off the 200-unit fast-casual Pei Wei Asian Kitchen brand into a separate business and last year moved the fast-casual concept’s headquarters from Scottsdale to Irving, Texas.

Pei Wei Asian Kitchen had an estimated $339.9 million in U.S. systemwide sales in 2017, down from $357.2 million in the preceding year, according to NRN Top 200 estimates.

The P.F. Chang’s China Bistro brand was founded in 1993 by chef Philip Chiang and Paul Fleming, and it is celebrating its 25th year this month with special offers and contests through July 25.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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