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Pei Wei sold to Leeann Chin owner

Lorne Goldberg, who also owns Pick Up Stix and Mandarin Express, buys another Asian-focused concept.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Lorne Goldberg is adding another Asian chain to his collection.

The latest is Pei Wei Asian Diner, the Dallas-based chain that Goldberg’s PWD Acquisition acquired Wednesday from private-equity firm Centerbridge Partners.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition gives Goldberg’s West Coast Capital a larger, well-known chain to go with Pick Up Stix, Leeann Chin and Mandarin Express. The trio of concepts together operates 165 locations.

Pei Wei has been struggling in recent years. Sales fell 10.5% in 2018, according to data from Restaurant Business sister company Technomic.

The chain has also closed numerous units. Pei Wei peaked at 213 locations in 2016. The chain is now down to 167. It generated $306 million in system sales in 2018, down 16% over two years.

The sale also gets Centerbridge out from under its investment in P.F. Chang’s. The firm paid $1.1 billion for the Asian casual-dining chain and Pei Wei in 2012.

Centerbridge split the two chains two years ago, hoping it would spur a sale. P.F. Chang’s was sold to a pair of investment firms earlier this year.

Reports had suggested that numerous potential buyers, including Applebee’s and IHOP owner Dine Brands Global, were eyeing a Pei Wei acquisition.

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