ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) and Eddie V's Restaurants, Inc. today jointly announced a definitive agreement under which Darden has agreed to purchase the Eddie V's Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille restaurant brands, and all related assets for $59 million, in an all cash transaction. The brands will become part of Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group. Darden expects to complete the transaction by the end of the calendar year.
Eddie V's currently owns and operates eight Eddie V's restaurants, three Wildfish restaurants and four Roaring Fork restaurants. (The Roaring Fork brand is not part of the transaction.) Eddie V's is a leading luxury seafood brand with strong consumer appeal, high average unit volumes and a strong return on invested capital. It was founded in 2000 by Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles. Wildfish, Eddie V's sister concept, opened its first location in 2005.
"Our Specialty Restaurant Group, which is comprised of The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52, has been making an increasingly meaningful contribution to Darden's sales and earnings growth," said Clarence Otis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Darden. "Eddie V's and Wildfish are an excellent complement to those brands, enabling us to capture incremental guests in an important segment of full-service dining. The Group is now even more strongly positioned to help us achieve competitively superior, long-term profitable sales growth."Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles, Eddie V's founders, stated, "This deal offers tremendous opportunity for our management team and employees, and puts our brands even more firmly on a path to achieving their full potential. For our employees, it means becoming a part of one of the world's most successful restaurant companies. Darden's culture and resources will enable Eddie V's and Wildfish to prosper in a highly competitive industry." Gene Lee, president of Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group commented, "With the addition of the Eddie V's and Wildfish brands, our Specialty Restaurant Group has an opportunity to achieve meaningful growth in the very attractive luxury seafood category. Guy, Larry and their team have done an outstanding job creating distinctive guest experiences that are comparable to The Capital Grille, but with an emphasis on fresh seafood. Most importantly, these brands have a culture and focus that aligns very nicely with our own, which we believe will be an important factor in our ability to help them grow successfully." Highlights
- Darden has agreed to purchase the Eddie V's and Wildfish restaurant brands for $59 million; the brands consist of eight current Eddie V's locations in Arizona, California and Texas; and three current Wildfish locations in Arizona, California and Texas.
- Including acquisition-related costs and projected operating results at Eddie V's and Wildfish, the transaction is expected to be neutral to Darden's diluted net earnings per share for the company's 2012 fiscal year.
- Both brands will reside within Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group, which includes The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.
- Eddie V's talented team of leaders, who lead both brands, will join Darden and continue leading the day-to-day operation of the brands. Jim VanDercook, President and CEO of Eddie V's, will become President of Eddie V's and Wildfish, and report to Gene Lee, President of Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group.
- Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles, Eddie V's founders, have agreed to provide consulting services for two years.
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