Paulson & Co. Inc and TriArtisan Capital closed their previously announced deal for Chinese chain P.F. Chang’s, the companies announced March 1. Financial terms of the acquisition from Centerbridge Partners, L.P. were not disclosed. Bloomberg reported in January that the sale was for about $700 million. P.F Chang’s more than $675 million of total debt would be take out at part, a private notice sent to investors said.
Headed into the deal, P.F. Chang’s liabilities included about $375 million of secured debut, including $5 million of capital leases, a $317 million first-lien term loan, $25 million of revolver borrowings, and $28 million of secured notes provided by the sponsor. Its borrowings also included $300 million of unsecured bonds, Bloomberg reported.
P.F. Chang’s, founded 1993 in Scottsdale, Arizona, where it is still headquartered, has more than 200 company-run restaurants and over 90 franchised units globally across 24 countries.
“We want to thank Centerbridge Partners for their strong support of P.F. Chang’s. We are fortunate to have a partnership with Paulson and TriArtisan which will allow us to implement a collaborative growth strategy,” Jim Bell, P.F. Chang’s CEO, said in a statement. “Paulson and TriArtisan bring financial strength and expertise that will allow us to grow our dine-in and off-premises channels both domestically and internationally.”
BofA Merrill Lynch acted as lead financial adviser. Barclays also acted as financial. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel.
“P.F. Chang’s is a highly differentiated, iconic global brand with excellent financial performance and strong growth prospects,” John Paulson, pfounder and president of Paulson, said. “We are very excited to partner with P.F. Chang’s’ outstanding management team to drive the business forward.”
Rohit Manocha, a TriArtisan founding partner, added they intend to provide P.F. Chang’s management team with the resources to “rapidly scale the business of providing high quality, contemporary Asian cuisine at a compelling value to our customers worldwide in both the off-premises and dine-in channels.”
Credit Suisse served as Paulson and TriArtisan’s financial adviser for the transaction and Ropes & Gray LLP and Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen, P.C. served as legal counsel.
As previously announced, the move splits P.F Chang’s from fast casual Pei Wei, which remains in Centerbridge’s portfolio. The company acquired both brands in 2013 in a deal valued at $1.1 billion. Operationally, the chains were already headed in different directions. Pei Wei moved its headquarters last August from Scottsdale, Arizona, to Irving, Texas, and then hired John Hendrick, formerly COO of NCP International—an operator with 1,300 Pizza Hut and Wendy’s locations—as its new chief executive officer in January 2018.
News of a possible transaction began in July, when Centerbridge said it was “an exciting time to explore a sale.” P.F. Chang’s, at that report, was generating average-unit volumes of $4.1 million in its restaurants.
Before the 2012 sale to Centerbridge, P.F. Chang’s reported a 42 percent drop in first-quarter profit to $6.3 million, Revenue was $318.9 million as guest counts sagged. The brand was “fighting to recover from ill-timed price increases,” Reuters reported at the time.