Ruby Tuesday is sold

Ruby Tuesday has agreed to be acquired by the private-equity firm NRD Capital for $2.40 per share and the assumption of debt, pushing the value of the deal to $335 million.

The purchase was announced on the day Ruby was scheduled to release its financial results for the third quarter. The casual dining chain has been stuck in a prolonged downward slide that resulted in 95 restaurants being closed last year. It announced in March 2017 that management would seek a buyer and explore other financial alternatives.

The per-share purchase price amounts to a 20% premium over Ruby's stock price at Friday's market close.

NRD Capital was founded by restaurant franchisee Aziz Hashim to turn franchisees into franchisors. Its previous acquisition was Frisch’s Restaurants, the Midwestern burger chain.

“As a private company, we will be able to take a long-term view on Ruby Tuesday, allowing us to make investments in people, product, and customer experience, without public company constraints,” Hashim said.

Ruby has been striving to get back on its feet by retreating from a disaster charge upmarket. Those efforts have included the relaunch of the chain’s signature salad bar chain and refocus on lower-end selections like chicken fingers, burgers and ribs.

With last year's closings, Ruby has been trimmed to 599 restaurants in 41 states. All but 58 are company-operated.

The chain is one of the oldest in casual dining. It was founded in 1972 by Sandy Beall.

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