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Ante is raised for steak chain

March 17, 2007|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Seafood restaurant operator Landry's Restaurants Inc. said Friday that it had offered to acquire steakhouse chain Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group Inc. for about $84 million, topping a rival bid by Patina Restaurant Group.

In January, Landry's, which operates the Landry's Seafood House and Rainforest Cafe restaurants, had made an unsolicited offer to acquire Smith & Wollensky for $64.4 million, or $7.50 a share -- which was about a 50% premium to the stock's $5.03 closing price Jan. 12.

Shares of New York-based Smith & Wollensky jumped after the Landry's bid. In February, the steakhouse operator had agreed to be acquired by Patina Restaurant Group of New York for $79.5 million, or $9.25 a share, in cash.

Houston-based Landry's said Friday that its new offer of $9.75 a share was "clearly superior" to the Patina offer, and it believed a combination of the two companies "would be in the best interest of the stockholders of both companies."

Smith & Wollensky could not be reached for comment.

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