Landry's initiates US$116.6M cash tender offer for Morton's Restaurant Group

CHICAGO , December 30, 2011 () – The billionaire owner of Landry's restaurants initiated his $116.6 million cash tender offer for steakhouse chain Morton's on Friday.

The offer of $6.90 per share from Tilman Fertitta two weeks ago has already been approved by Morton's board of directors and will net him 77 steakhouses.

Fertitta paid a 34 percent premium over Morton's closing stock price the day before the deal was announced. The stock closed at $6.85 Thursday, just under his offering price.

Restaurants are facing higher food costs even as they are forced to work harder to entice consumers less likely to eat out because of the economy. Morton's, based in Chicago, reported a wider loss in its most recent quarter, although revenue rose 8 percent to $71.4 million. The company first aired thoughts of a potential sale in February.

Morton's Restaurant Group Inc. runs steakhouses in the U.S., China, Mexico, Canada and Singapore. It also operates the Italian restaurant Trevi in Las Vegas.

Landry's Inc. also owns the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casinos in Nevada and Atlantic City, N.J., along with hotels and aquariums in Denver and Houston. Landry's predicts about $2 billion in revenue in 2011.

Fertitta has been on a buying spree. On the day he announced the deal for Morton's, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants Inc. settled a lawsuit with its shareholders who said they were opposed to Fertitta's $130.1 million bid for that company. That offer, for $8.75 per share, has been extended once and is set to expire 5 p.m. Friday.

Fertitta is acquiring Morton's through an affiliate of Landry's, which owns Landry's Seafood House, Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and other chains.

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