Landry’s scoops up Bubba Gump

By

Steven Hedlund

Published on
November 9, 2010

Landry’s Restaurants on Monday announced that it purchased Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., the Houston-based restaurant giant’s second acquisition in as many weeks. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

San Clemente, Calif.-based Bubba Gump operates 32 casual seafood restaurants in the United States and abroad, generating 2009 sales of USD 200 million and averaging USD 7.2 million per U.S. restaurant.

The Bubba Gump acquisition comes just two weeks after Landry’s landed Irvine, Calif.-based Claim Jumper out of bankruptcy with a USD 76.6 million bid, edging out a private-equity firm and a group that included the 45-unit casual chain’s founder.

It’s been a busy year for Landry’s and Tilman Fertitta, the company’s founder, chairman, president and CEO. In April, Landry’s bought the Oceanaire Seafood Room out of bankruptcy for USD 23.6 million. The Minneapolis-based upscale seafood chain operates a dozen restaurants nationwide.

Then in May, Fertitta acquired Landry’s outright in deal is valued at USD 1.4 billion, ending a nearly two-year-long bid for the restaurant and hospitality company. Fertitta had already owned a 55 percent stake in the company.

Bubba Gump, which is based on the popular 1994 film “Forrest Gump,” opened its first restaurant on Cannery Row in Monterey, Calif., in 1996. It now operates 22 locations in the United States, three in Japan, two in Mexico, two in Malaysia and one each in Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines. Bubba Gump’s brands also include Mai Tai Bar, Capi’s Italian Kitchen and the Newport Beach Rusty Pelican.

Fertitta called Bubba Gump an “ideal fit” for Landry’s.

“The concept has a loyal following and significant brand recognition, making it one of the hottest concepts in the casual family-dining restaurant industry today,” he said. “Gordon Miles and his team developed one of the most successful and profitable seafood chains in America.”

“I am proud of Bubba Gump’s success and the accomplishments of my team over the years,” added Bubba Gump Chairman Gordon Miles. “We know that under Tilman’s and Landry’s stewardship the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. concept will continue to grow and improve.”

This isn’t the first time Landry’s and Bubba Gump have been involved in a deal. In 1998, Landry’s purchased the five-unit Rusty Pelican chain from Bubba Gump. Two years later, Landry’s sued Bubba Gump over continued use of the Rusty Pelican name at a sole location in Newport Beach, Calif. Landry’s claimed that it had attained the rights to the Rusty Pelican name.

Landry’s banners include Landry’s Seafood House, Charley’s Crab, Rainforest Café, Saltgrass Steak House and The Chart House. It also owns the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev. Landry’s 2009 revenues topped USD 1 billion.

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