TGI Friday’s is going public again

A TGI Fridays restaurant in New York City.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

T.G.I. Friday’s is going public again.

The casual dining chain is planning on merging with Allegro Merger, a special purpose acquisition company with ties to investment firm Crescendo Partners, the two companies announced Friday. Special purpose acquisition companies have no assets but use the proceeds from an IPO, combined with bank financing, to buy and take privately held consumer companies public.

If the deal closes, T.G.I. Friday’s owners will receive $30 million in cash and stock. TriArtisan Capital Advisors, the restaurant company’s majority owner, expects to exchange most of its ownership for shares of Allegro.

The proceeds of the deal are expected to help T.G.I. Friday’s pay down its debt. The casual-dining industry as a whole is struggling as fewer consumers want to sit down for family meals.  

In 2014, longtime owner Carlson Restaurants sold the chain, known for its wings, potato skins and endless appetizers, to TriArtisan and Sentinel Partners for reportedly for more than $800 million. T.G.I. Friday’s has been privately held since merging with Carlson 30 years ago. 

Earlier this year, Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company scrapped a deal with a special purpose acquisition company that would have taken it public again. 

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