Struggling Bob Evans Restaurants, New Albany, Ohio, has sold its 520+ restaurants for $565 million, and the remaining company, BEF Foods, will focus solely on its packaged foods business. The chain's packaged foods arm, Bob Evans Farms, will retain its name and separately announced it will acquire Pineland Farms Potato Co., Mars Hill, Maine, for $115 million, to boost its portfolio of potato products. The company expects to net $475 to $485 million from the sale.
The company said the acquisition "provides capability to produce and sell diced and shredded potato products in both the retail and foodservice channels." It also gets another potato processing facility with up to 180 million pounds of capacity, a 900-acre potato farm and an additional 55,000 acres of annual potato production.
An activist shareholder, private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, won a three-year battle to split the company's restaurant and packaged food businesses.
"This is an important time for our brand, our company and our team, and this partnership will provide Bob Evans Restaurants with the resources, knowledge and flexibility needed to drive our growth, while remaining true to the values of our founder, Bob Evans," said CEO Saed Mohseni in a press release.
The deals are expected to finalize before the end of April. Mohseni will remain CEO of the private restaurant business following the sale. President John Fisher also will keep his post with the chain, which will remain based in its offices in New Albany.
"The sale of Bob Evans Restaurants enables us to concentrate exclusively on BEF Foods, our fastest growing and most profitable segment," Mohseni added. "This focus will result in higher returns for our shareholders and, as a more focused private business, Bob Evans Restaurants will be better able to deliver on its brand promise of providing quality food and hospitality to every guest at every meal."