By Steven Hedlund
Published on 12 October, 2011
Darden Restaurants on Wednesday announced that it agreed to acquire Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille from Eddie V’s Restaurants for USD 59 million.
The deal includes all eight Eddie V’s restaurants and three Wildfish restaurants; it does not include the four Roaring Fork restaurants. The Houston-based company was founded by Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles in 2000. The majority of its restaurants are located in Texas, with three in Arizona and two in California.
Darden — which owns the United States’ No. 1 casual seafood chain, Red Lobster — called Eddie V’s “a leading luxury seafood brand with strong consumer appeal, high average unit volumes and a strong return on invested capital.” The brands will become part of Darden’s Specialty Restaurant Group, which comprises The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.
“Our Specialty Restaurant Group … has been making an increasingly meaningful contribution to Darden's sales and earnings growth,” said Clarence Otis, Darden’s chairman and CEO. “Eddie V’s and Wildfish are an excellent complement to those brands, enabling us to capture incremental guests in an important segment of full-service dining. The group is now even more strongly positioned to help us achieve competitively superior, long-term profitable sales growth.”
Villavaso and Foles added, “This deal offers tremendous opportunity for our management team and employees and puts our brands even more firmly on a path to achieving their full potential. For our employees, it means becoming a part of one of the world’s most successful restaurant companies. Darden’s culture and resources will enable Eddie V’s and Wildfish to prosper in a highly competitive industry.
Based in Orlando, Fla., Darden is the world’s largest casual-dining company; it also own Olive Garden and LongHorn SteakHouse.