Share­hold­ers ap­prove sale of Bo­jan­gles’ to 2 NY firms

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY KATHER­INE PER­ALTA

kper­[email protected]­lot­teob­

Bo­jan­gles’ is one step closer to hav­ing new own­ers.

In a meet­ing at the restau­rant’s head­quar­ters in Char­lotte Thursday morn­ing, Bo­jan­gles’ share­hold­ers ap­proved the sale of the com­pany to two New York firms, Du­ra­tional Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment LP and The Jordan Com­pany, L.P.

About 33.4 mil­lion shares, or over 88 per­cent of out­stand­ing shares en­ti­tled to vote, voted in fa­vor of pro­posed deal, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Bo­jan­gles’.

The sale, which was an­nounced in Novem­ber and is still sub­ject to clos­ing con­di­tions, is ex­pected to close in the first quar­ter of the year. Af­ter that, Bo­jan­gles’ stock will stop trad­ing on the NAS­DAQ.

Also un­der terms of the merger agree­ment, Bo­jan­gles’ stock­hold­ers will re­ceive $ 16.10 per share in cash upon com­ple­tion of the deal.

The sale ush­ers in a new era for the chicken-and­bis­cuits chain, which opened its first lo­ca­tion on West Boule­vard in 1977. The new own­ers have said that Bo­jan­gles’ will con­tinue do busi­ness as an in­de­pen­dent, pri­vately-held com­pany based in Char­lotte.

But the chang­ing of hands raises ques­tions about what Bo­jan­gles’ will look like in the fu­ture.

Ques­tions re­main, for in­stance, about em­ploy­ment at Bo­jan­gles’ cor­po­rate head­quar­ters, changes to the menu and the open­ing and clos­ing of restau­rants.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Du­ra­tional Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment and The Jordan Com­pany could not be reached for com­ment.

The chain has en­coun­tered chal­lenges in re­cent years that new own­er­ship likely will try to ad­dress.

Open­ing stores too quickly, and open­ing in ar­eas where the Bo­jan­gles’ name was un­fa­mil­iar, have hurt sales at the chain.

That was the case when the com­pany went pub­lic in spring 2015, and lead­ers em­barked on an am­bi­tious plan to fill in Bo­jan­gles’ core mar­kets in the Caroli­nas, then open stores in new mar­kets, in­clud­ing in Mo­bile, Ala., north Florida and Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

In an earn­ings re­port last year, Bo­jan­gles’ said it closed 10 com­pany-op­er­ated stores in four states in its ad­ja­cent mar­kets, in­clud­ing Alabama, Ken­tucky, Ten­nessee and Virginia.

The com­pany also dealt with ex­pan­sion con­cerns in the 1980s. Af­ter ex­pand­ing out­side the South­east at the time, Bo­jan­gles’ shrank to fewer than 200 restau­rants. Now, the chain op­er­ates 759 restau­rants, most of which are in the South­east.

As an­other way to help im­prove its fi­nan­cial health, Bo­jan­gles’ last year got rid of four “very slow mov­ing” menu items — jam­bal­aya bowl, smoked sausage bis­cuit, bar­be­cue pork sand­wich and Ched­dar Bo Bis­cuit — at com­pany-op­er­ated restau­rants.

Kather­ine Per­alta: 704-358-5079, katieper­alta

DIEDRA LAIRD [email protected]­lot­teob­

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