Benihana operator Safflower Holdings changes hands

A Benihana restaurant in London, U.K.
A Benihana restaurant in London, U.K. | Photo courtesy of Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock
2 Min

The ONE Group Hospitality is acquiring Safflower Holdings, the owner of Benihana Inc., which owns RA Sushi and the teppanyaki-themed Benihana restaurant chains.

Aventura, Florida, U.S.A.-based Benihana operates 88 company-owned restaurants and franchises and licenses an additional 17 venues in the Americas. Its flagship brand, Benihana, pioneered interactive hibachi dining in the U.S., according to The ONE Group. 

The ONE Group provides hospitality management services for hotels, casinos, and other high-end venues both domestically and internationally. Its restaurant brands include sushi restaurant Kona Grill, which has 27 locations in the U.S, as well as the STK steakhouse chain.

“We are delighted to welcome Benihana, an American cultural icon with timeless appeal that transcends generations and offers unparalleled guest experiences, to The ONE Group family,” The ONE Group President and CEO Emanuel Manny” Hilario said. The strategic acquisition of a one-of-a-kind restaurant platform with a compelling financial profile supports our broader strategy to fortify and diversify our leading portfolio of best-in-class experiential VIBE restaurant concepts.”

The transaction is valued at USD 365 million (EUR 337 million) and will be financed with USD 160 million (EUR 148 million) in preferred equity and a portion of a new USD 390 million (EUR 360 million) term loan and credit facility, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.-based The ONE Group said in a press release.

After the transaction closes in Q2 2024, The ONE Group will have a global footprint of 168 full-service entertainment and grill restaurants. The acquisition is expected to add approximately USD 575 million (EUR 531 million) in annualized system-wide revenue to The One Group and around USD 70 million (EUR 65 million) in annual run-rate EBITDA before synergies, which are estimated to be USD 20 million (EUR 18.5 million) annually.

“Benihanas RA Sushi brand predicates itself on delivering creative sushi and Japanese dishes in a bar-forward, upbeat, and vibrant dining atmosphere and fun-filled, high-energy environment,” The ONE Group said.

The ONE Group expects that it will take 24 months to realize synergies post-closing and expects its pro forma annualized run-rate EBITDA with synergies to hit more than USD 135 million (EUR 125 million). The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings per diluted share, the company said.

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