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Darden buys Chris Steak House from Ruth for about $715 million


Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain is being acquired by Darden Restaurants for approximately $715 million.

The original Chris Steak House opened on Broad Street in New Orleans in 1927 and was acquired by Ruth Fertel in 1965. The company has 154 locations worldwide, including 80 owned or operated restaurants and 74 franchised restaurants.

The company, now based in Winter Park, Florida, suffered like most restaurants during the pandemic, closing 23 restaurants in early 2020, sending employees on furlough and announcing that executives were being paid less.

Shares of Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc., which owns the restaurants, recovered within a year of the outbreak. Shares were halted before the market opened and rose more than 30% at the opening bell.

Also based in Florida, Darden will purchase all outstanding shares of Ruth’s for $21.50 per share, a 34% premium.

“Ruth’s Chris is a strong and distinctive brand in the gourmet segment with an impressive history of delivering high-quality dining experiences to their loyal patrons,” Rick Cardenas, CEO of Darden, said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

Darden Restaurants Inc. owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, and Eddie V’s.

Shares of Darden were flat on Wednesday.

The deal, which was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, is expected to close next month.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.