TGI Fridays to go public through merger with its UK franchise

The TGI Fridays logo is seen in one of its branches.

Juan Lamparski | Light rocket | fake images

TGI Fridays and Hostmore, the chain's U.K. franchise, announced plans to merge on Tuesday.

The all-stock deal is valued at £177 million ($220 million). If it closes, TGI Fridays, best known for its potato skins, chicken wings and endless appetizers, will be listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol “TGIF.”

The company's headquarters for its U.S. and global brand operations will remain in Dallas, Texas. CEO Weldon Spangler, who has led the company since October, will retain his current role.

“This transaction represents the next step in our journey, increasing our corporate-owned restaurant locations and providing capital to expand our global footprint,” Spangler said in a statement.

The new company would own 189 restaurants in the United States and the United Kingdom, the companies said. Franchisees would operate the approximately 400 remaining locations of the chain's global presence, which spans 44 countries.

If approved by regulators, the merger is expected to close in the third quarter.

TriArtisan Capital Advisors purchased TGI Fridays from former owner Carlson Restaurants in 2014 in a deal reportedly valued at more than $800 million. TriArtisan also owns stakes in PF Chang's and Hooters.

In 2019, TGI Fridays announced plans to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, but that deal fell apart when the Covid pandemic shook financial markets and the restaurant industry.

In 2022, TGI Fridays' revenue increased 3.6% to $75.2 million, according to U.S. franchise disclosure documents. But the bar and barbecue chain has been stuck in a recovery phase as shopping centers shrink and the casual dining segment loses customers.

Earlier this year, TGI Fridays closed 36 underperforming restaurants in the US.

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