NEW YORK (
(RT - Get Report) has made it expressly clear it did not start the speculation mongering that it had hired Goldman Sachs to discuss strategic options, particularly a potential buyout.
"The company is aware of recent media reports suggesting it has hired Goldman Sachs to evaluate strategic alternatives," it said in a statement. "We believe it is important to clarify that this rumor did not originate from Ruby Tuesday."
Missing from the statement, however, was confirmation the restaurant chain had or had not entered into discussions with the investment bank. The short and not-so-clarifying release sent shares as low as 7.2% during the trading day, before closing 3.8% lower to $6.84. Wednesday's drop reversed all gains achieved since Monday when the rumors gained traction.
This year hasn't been one of Ruby Tuesday's best, with stock value down 13% since January, crippled by a string of poor earnings reports.
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During its most recent quarter ended Sept. 3, the company saw same-store sales fall 11.4% at company-owned restaurants and 8.4% at franchises compared to the first quarter a year earlier. Net operating loss was $21.9 million, compared to a net income of $3.1 million in the year-ago quarter.
For its second quarter, figures of which will be released Jan. 9, management forecast single-digit decreases for same-store sales in the second quarter, with an improvement likely in the third and fourth quarter of FY2014.
At the end of November, the Tennessee-based business announced it would implement a series of cost-cutting measures including a workforce reduction and a restructure of its corporate support services.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.