The Champps Americana chain is being taken out as a loser. Shares of the sports bar with the surprisingly upscale bistro menu soared 17% Thursday, but let's not cheer for the $5.60 per-share buyout of Champps
The deal comes only after Champps tried -- and failed -- to smoke out a buyer earlier this year. That doesn't make the unsolicited offer by the Fox & Hound pub chain a welcome mercy killing. Champps is going out for a lot less than the $6.95 price tag at which it started out the calendar year. The price is also well off last year's high of $8.29 and the low teens where it peaked five years ago.
Sure, shareholders don't have a right to revisit previous highs on the way out. That's what the "sell" button is for. However, by cashing out when the casual dining industry is in a serious funk, Champps is going out at the bottom instead of trying to weather the storm.
You saw the quitter stripes at Champps last year, when the company was blaming rival chains' advertising campaigns and discounting for its own shortcomings. The scapegoats may have been legitimate, but finger-pointing gets old in the cutthroat eatery space.
With its 61 mostly company-owned locations, no one is going to confuse Champps with larger casual dining players like Applebee's
Champps isn't alone. Big brands like Applebee's and Wendy's
So farewell, Champps. Your name had one "p" too many, and your exit strategy came one plea too late.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz prefers his sports bars with a little less flair, more in the Beef O'Brady's mold. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, save for CBRL. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.