Fidelity National raises J. Alexander's offer

Tenacious Party F now also faces much bigger break-up fee [Updated with word that company unlikely to raise bid]

Fidelity National has increased its offer to buy J. Alexander's to $14.50 per share, topping the previous high bid by an unidentified suitor.

The Florida-based title insurer, which first announced a deal to buy the Nashville-based restaurant chain more than two months ago, also has increased to $3.8 million the break-up fee J. Alexander's would have to pay it in the event the acquisition is not completed. Previously, that fee was less than $2.2 million.

Fidelity National earlier this year also acquired O'Charley's and relocated the headquarters of its majority-owned American Blue Ribbon Holdings restaurant arm to 100 Oaks. Its latest bid is in response to the $14.25-per-share offer made late last week by so-called Party F, which first showed interest in taking over J. Alexander's in late June. Fidelity National had until Friday to top that proposal; now it's again Party F's turn to respond. (Update: Party F told J. Alexander's financial advisor on Tuesday it "was not inclined to improve its proposal".)

“The J. Alexander’s board of directors believes that FNF’s revised tender offer is in the best interest of all J. Alexander’s shareholders and is pleased with the successful completion of the negotiation process with FNF,” said Chairman, President and CEO Lonnie Stout, who has been leading negotiations with the company's suitors.

Investors in J. Alexander's now have until Sept. 19 to tender their shares to Fidelity National. So far, less than 3 percent of outstanding shares have been turned in.

J. Alexander's shares (Ticker: JAX) closed Wednesday trading at $14.62, up almost 1 percent on the day.