The board of J. Alexander’s has gotten its putative buyer to agree to pay $6 million more than it had planned to — and to do it all in cash.
Whether the move neutralizes the opposition efforts of the largest J. Alexander’s investor remains to be seen.
Fidelity National Financial and J. Alexander’s on Tuesday announced that the Florida-based title insurer, which owns more than half of the restaurant holding company that runs O’Charley’s and other chains, will pay $13 per J. Alexander’s share. That’s up more than 8 percent from before.
In their statement, J. Alexander’s officials also said that they have ended talks with the two companies who were in the mix last week with alternative bids. Whether Fidelity National’s new bid is essentially a match to those higher offer(s) is not clear. Attempts Tuesday to reach executives at both J. Alexander’s and Fidelity National were not successful.
That the amended agreement calls for an all-cash payment also could be seen as an attempt to placate some investors, including the principals of Privet Fund, who own 10 percent of J. Alexander’s and have come out in force against the deal in part because they don’t want to own a small stake in the diversified American Blue Ribbon Holdings group that this spring took over O’Charley’s. Tuesday’s statement promised that an upcoming filing will detail why J. Alexander’s board supports the sale of the company, but did not say why the sale is now structured as a cash-only deal.
Privet principals declined to comment on the latest development.
J. Alexander’s and Fidelity National also said the latter will by next Monday launch its tender offer. That essentially gives investors the choice of voting in favor of the deal by tendering their shares or of sitting on the sidelines until a shareholders’ meeting that J. Alexander’s needs to host by late October. Last week, Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman essentially ordered the company to do so after Privet had sued over recent bylaw changes.
Shares of J. Alexander’s (Ticker: JAX) jumped more than 10 percent Tuesday to just above $13. By about 1 p.m., volume had topped 620,000 shares, more than 14 times the daily average.
- ALEX B FRUIN INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDACE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; CANDANCE F STEFANSIC INHERITANCE TRUST; FRUIN, ALEX B TRUSTEE; FRUIN ALEX B INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC, CANDACE F TRUSTEE; STEFANSIC CANDACE F INHERITANCE TRUST; STEFANSIC CANDANCE F INHERITANCE TRUST
- ROSS, BRIDGETT D
- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
- JACOBS, JESSICA ALEXANDRA; JACOBS, ERIKA BESS