Four months after unveiling plans to become a national chain, San Diego-based Jack in the Box Inc. on Tuesday announced its entree into the rapidly growing fast-casual restaurant category by acquiring the parent of the Qdoba Mexican Grill.
Jack in the Box, the nation's fourth-largest-selling hamburger chain, paid $45 million to acquire Denver-based Qdoba Restaurant Corp. from ACI Capital Co. and Western Growth Capital, both New York-based, and other private investors. The sale of the chain -- which had $65 million in 2002 systemwide sales -- closed Tuesday.
The purchase of closely held Qdoba -- with 85 outlets in 16 states but none in California -- moves Jack in the Box closer to its goal of being a national player, a spokeswoman said.
The burger chain operates or franchises more than 1,800 restaurants in 17 states and had sales of nearly $2 billion in its fiscal 2002 ended Sept. 29.
Jack in the Box shares lost 11 cents Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, to close at $16.41 -- less than half the value of its 52-week high in May.
-- Karen Robinson-Jacobs