Shares of Bojangles, Inc. (NASDAQ:BOJA), a growing operator and franchisor known for southern recipes, fried chicken, and all-day breakfast at 766 systemwide restaurants, jumped 15% as of about 2:30 p.m. EDT after news broke that the company is working with Bank of America to explore strategic alternatives.
The fast-food chain, according to Reuters, is considering strategic alternatives including a possible sale, giving credence to recent rumors. Restaurant chains exploring strategic alternatives has been a common theme recently. In 2017, there were a number of deals including Restaurant Brands International's (NYSE:QSR) acquisition of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), owner of Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, added Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen to its list of companies.
The consolidation trend continued in 2018 with Papa John's International Inc., the world's third-largest pizza delivery company, which put itself up for sale after its significant decline culminated in John Schnatter's resignation as CEO. Inspire Brands, which owns Buffalo Wild Wings and Arby's, agreed to buy Sonic Corp. for $1.57 billion just this week.
The possible sale isn't surprising as the company's CEO stepped down in March after multiple quarters of comparable-store sale declines and a struggling business turnaround. Add to those issues the fact that Bojangles is operating in a crowded fried-chicken market on its own -- it's difficult to find success when a chain isn't part of a larger company. For investors, it's important to remember that while shares are up 15% in hopes of receiving a premium purchase price from a willing buyer, there is no guarantee a sale will happen. Currently, Bojangles is simply working with Bank of America to explore its options. Expect the competitive restaurant industry to continue the recent consolidation trend as costs keep rising and competition heats up.