Buffalo Wild Wings to buy 15 franchised units

Staff Writer
Buffalo Wild Wings to buy 15 franchised units

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. said Thursday it intends to acquire 15 franchised restaurants in Ohio and South Carolina in a cash transaction to close by the end of the year.

The locations currently belong to Dayton, Ohio-based ThreeWitt Enterprises, whose principals — David Fisher, Eric Lundgren, John Slaughenhaupt and Brad Haber — opened their first Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in 1994. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The strong performance of this group of restaurants presented a very attractive acquisition opportunity for us,” Sally Smith, chief executive of Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings, said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming them into our company-owned operations.”

Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings operates 288 restaurants and franchises an additional 498 units. During its third-quarter earnings call, the company said it expects to open 21 corporate stores and 19 franchised units in the fourth quarter. It also reported at the end of the Oct. 2-ended quarter that it held about $91 million in cash on hand, excluding restricted assets, and officials indicated that the company could be opportunistic with moves like the acquisition of franchised restaurants.

Same-store sales at Buffalo Wild Wing’s company-owned locations have trended higher than those for franchised locations recently. Through the first three quarters of 2011, same-store sales at corporate units rose 3.9 percent, 5.9 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively, compared with gains of 1.6 percent, 2.7 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively, at franchised restaurants.

“It is bittersweet to leave the system as we pursue new challenges,” Fisher said. “But we leave with very positive relationships with the company and are pleased that our restaurant team members will now be part of a national organization with its resources and career opportunities.”

Securities analysts said the acquisition, if closed, would be accretive to Buffalo Wild Wings’ bottom line in fiscal 2012.