There's nothing fishy about Landry's Restaurants
Delaying its quarterly filings as it completes its internal investigation over the backdating of stock options, Landry's voracious appetite for themed restaurants, casinos, and casual steakhouses is kicking in with the mother of all indigestions. Creditors, including U.S. Bank, are taking advantage of the tardy filings to demand that the company repay its $400 million in debt obligations.
You may remember Landry's as a growth stock darling a few years ago. The company's casual dining seafood eateries were popular and growing quickly. Things changed when it decided that organic growth wasn't enough.
In an attempt to diversify, the company has gone on to acquire the high-volume Rainforest Cafe chain and the old school Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, and it has made an unsolicited push to acquire high-end chophouse Smith & Wollensky
There's no harm in trying to piece together a chunkier empire, but it appears that the company may have bitten off more than it can chew. It probably realized this when it sold off its Joe's Crab Shack last year in a $192 million deal, but then it came back out a few weeks later with Smith & Wollensky in its nibbling crosshairs.
So much for that diet. The company is also doing the right thing by sensing value in its slumping shares and repurchasing stock, although that plan isn't prudent now that panhandling is the soup of the day.
Trading at just 14 times this year's profit estimates, Landry's is a compelling value if it can wiggle its way out of this mess. A downgrade from Oppenheimer this morning would indicate that the market thinks it won't be as easy as that.
Then again, maybe this is just what Landry's needs. A little restraint and a lot of focus can go a long way at a company. For Landry's, it means not taking the "there's plenty of more fish in the sea" axiom so literally.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz was an investor in Rainforest Cafe back in the 1990s. Man, that was a long time ago. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. 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.