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Hawaii News

Darden buys Ruth’s Chris for $715M

The Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain, which has restaurants in Kakaako and Waikiki on Oahu, and in Wailea, Maui, is being acquired by Darden Restaurants Inc. for about $715 million.

The original Chris Steak House was opened on New Orleans’ Broad Street in 1927, and it was acquired by Ruth Fertel in 1965. The company has 154 locations worldwide, including 80 company-owned or -operated restaurants and 74 franchised restaurants.

The company, now based in Winter Park, Fla., suffered as most restaurants did during the pandemic, closing 23 restaurants in early 2020, furloughing workers and announcing that executives were taking less pay.

Shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc., which owns the restaurants, recovered within a year of the outbreak. Shares were halted before the market opened and finished the day up 34% at $21.48 a share.

Darden, also based in Florida, is acquiring all outstanding shares of Ruth’s for $21.50 a share, a 34% premium from its closing price of $16.03 on Tuesday.

“Ruth’s Chris is a strong and distinctive brand in the fine dining segment with an impressive history of delivering elevated dining experiences to their loyal guests,” Darden CEO Rick Cardenas said in a statement Wednesday.

Darden Restaurants owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s. Its stock fell 36 cents to $151.47.

The deal, which was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close next month.

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