TGI Fridays, the beloved chain known for its chicken tenders and loaded potato skins, announced plans to merge with Hostmore, the largest franchisee of Fridays restaurants based in the U.K. If the deal goes through, Hostmore will acquire the chain for $220 million (£177 million).

The proposed acquisition would give Hostmore’s shareholders 36% of the company. TGI Fridays shareholders would hold 64%. The new company, TGI Fridays Plc, would trade on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker TGIF.

Stephen Welker, Hostmore chair, called the merger “a natural fit” in a statement about the proposal. “Hostmore has made good progress in executing its turnaround strategy over the past year by reducing costs, revising our capital allocation policy to focus on debt repayment and shareholder distributions, and pursuing high ROI organic growth initiatives,” Welker said.

“Today marks an exciting moment for the next chapter of the TGI Fridays story, as we continue to drive forward our brand revitalization strategy,” said TGI Fridays chair Rohit Manocha. “Bringing together TGI Fridays with our leading franchisee partner in Hostmore, in our largest international market, the United Kingdom, has a compelling and highly complementary strategic logic to it.”

Fridays has been in business for over 50 years, with close to 600 restaurants in 44 countries. But the chain has struggled in recent years. In August, Fridays promoted Brandon Coleman to CEO. He abruptly resigned in October, before Weldon Spangler, a longtime TGI Fridays board member, took over.

Then in January, 36 underperforming restaurants across the U.S. shut their doors. At the same time, the brand announced it would sell eight of its previously corporate-owned restaurants in the Northeast to former CEO Ray Blanchette.

Spangler called the closures part of the company’s “path of transformation to revitalize the Fridays brand and implement a long-term growth strategy,” adding that he sees “a bright future for TGI Fridays.”

Fridays also revamped its menu last year, adding items like sushi, new salads, entrees, and alcohol-free offerings by Athletic Brewing Company. The prices are competitive, as appetizers start at just $3.

While there are certainly big changes afoot at Fridays, at least the budget apps aren’t budging. Likewise, the company’s headquarters for its U.S. and global brand operations will remain in Dallas, Texas, and Weldon Spangler will stay on as CEO.

The proposed deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2024.


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