T.G.I. Friday's owner plans stock offering

Carlson files with SEC to go public, sell up to $145 million of shares

August 21, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

WASHINGTON -- Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., which owns and franchises the third-largest casual-dining chain, T.G.I. Friday's, filed yesterday for an initial stock offering.

Carlson, based in Dallas, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell as much as $145 million of Class A stock. Those shares will have less voting power than the Class B stock to be retained by a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Carlson Cos. Inc.

The businesses that make up Carlson Restaurants had revenue of almost $600 million last year, or about 3 percent of total revenue at parent Carlson Cos., which with $21.7 billion in sales last year is one of the largest privately held U.S. companies.

"Now is a good time to go public," said Alen Reed Smith, who follows the casual-dining industry for Allen C. Ewing & Co., a Jacksonville, Fla.-based firm. "The eat-out percentage is continuing to go higher."

The 530 restaurants in the T.G.I. Friday's system had $1.4 billion in system-wide sales last year, a number that includes sales at franchisees, the filing said. That makes T.G.I. Friday's the third-largest casual-dining chain after Applebee's International Inc.'s No. 1 Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar chain and Brinker International Inc.'s No. 2 Chili's Grill & Bar chain, according to data from Chicago-based Technomic Inc.

Carlson Restaurants said it will use proceeds from the stock sale to repay some of the debt it owes to parent Carlson Cos.

The number of shares to be sold and their estimated price will be disclosed in a future filing. The company used the $145 million top value to calculate the SEC registration fee.

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