Shares of Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) were up 25.2% as of 12:30 p.m. EST Tuesday after the sports-centric restaurant chain received a spicy takeover bid. According to a report (may require subscription) from The Wall Street Journal this morning, private equity firm Roark Capital recently offered to acquire Buffalo Wild Wings for more than $150 per share in a deal worth over $2.3 billion.
That represents a premium of at least 27% from Buffalo Wild Wings' closing price on Monday. But it's also still well bellow BLWD's 52-week high set last December at just over $175 per share. The stock has plunged over the past year as a consequence of several quarters of soaring wing costs and declining comparable-restaurant sales.
It's also no surprise that Roark Capital might want to pounce while Buffalo Wild Wings is hot. In June, activist investor Marcato Capital began to exert its influence on the company, pushing for cost-cutting initiatives and an ambitious refranchising effort after winning enough votes to appoint three new representatives to its board of directors. Then, late last month, B-Dubs stock soared after its third-quarter 2017 results crushed expectations with the help of those initiatives.
Buffalo Wild Wings still hasn't returned to comparable-sales growth. Though revenue last quarter climbed a modest 0.5% year over year, that growth was entirely driven by new locations, as comps fell 2.3% and 3.2% at company-owned and franchised restaurants, respectively.
But that also creates a delicious opportunity. When Buffalo Wild Wings does finally return to sustained, profitable growth on both positive comps and restaurant expansion, its shares will reward patient investors accordingly. So don't be surprised if Buffalo Wild Wings either rebuffs Roark Capital's offer, or wants to return to the table and command an even higher buyout premium.
In any case, before you go tapping that "sell" button, shareholders would be wise to sit tight and see how Buffalo Wild Wings management responds.