Romano's Macaroni Grill to be sold for $8M
Two years after buying Romano's Macaroni Grill for $55 million, Ignite Restaurant Group Inc. said it will sell the pasta chain for $8 million. Ignite said Romano's Macaroni Grill wasn't able to deliver results it wanted. The Houston company also owns Joe's Crab Shack seafood restaurants and the smaller Brick House Tavern & Tap chain, which serves burgers, pizza and beer. Romano's Macaroni Grill will be bought by Phoenix-based Redrock Partners, a new company founded by the chain's current President John Gilbert and two other partners. Romano's Macaroni Grill has nearly 150 locations around the country, including two in the Twin Cities area, and has revenue of about $300 million a year.
L.L. Bean plans big brick-and-mortar push
L.L. Bean, known for selling its trademark boots via catalog for more than a century, plans to make a bigger push into brick-and-mortar retail by more than tripling the number of locations over the next five years, officials said. The Maine-based company, which is coming off five years of increasing revenue, will open four stores this year before accelerating growth with a goal of "at least 100" by 2020, President and CEO Chris McCormick told workers in a memo. The retail push will include L.L. Bean's first West Coast presence with the opening of stores in the Pacific Northwest. Bean currently has 26 full-price retail stores — along with a handful of outlets — that stretch from the Northeast to Minnesota and Colorado.
Study sees more shortfalls in failed pensions
A new federal study says many workers in employer-funded pension plans that fail could see their benefits reduced under the current system of government support. The study was released by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp., the federal agency that insures pensions for about 41 million Americans. It found that about half of employers in so-called multi-employer pension plans that fail in the near future will receive reduced payouts. That's up from 20 percent of people in multi-employer pension plans that already have run out of money, the study says. And the reductions likely will become steeper, increasing from the "typical" loss of around 10 percent.
Endo tops Valeant's buyout offer for Salix
Endo International is trying to lure fellow drugmaker Salix Pharmaceuticals with an offer Endo says is worth 11 percent more than the $10 billion Salix has agreed to accept from serial acquirer Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Endo values its cash and stock offer at $175 per Salix share, based on Tuesday's closing price. Valeant had offered $158 per share in January. Endo, based in Ireland, says it's submitted its proposal to the Salix board of directors. According to Endo, its "superior proposal" worth roughly $11.7 billion would bring shareholders of Raleigh, N.C.-based Salix a "substantial premium and immediate cash value, as well as the opportunity to participate in the significant upside potential of a global leader in specialty pharmaceuticals."
PetSmart completes deal to go private
PetSmart said that it has been taken private, as a group of investors led by the buyout firm BC Partners completed their $8.7 billion acquisition of the pet store retailer. PetSmart President and CEO David Lenhart and Chairman Gregory Josefowicz are stepping down as part of the deal. Michael Massey is being named president and CEO, and Raymond Svider is the new nonexecutive chairman. Massey is the former CEO of Collective Brands Inc., which owns Payless ShoeSource. On Dec. 14, the company said it would be taken private in a deal that valued the company at $83 per share. That was a 39 percent premium to its closing price on July 2. PetSmart Inc. shareholders approved the sale on Friday.
Toyota recalls Camrys, Highlanders, RAV4s
Toyota is recalling 112,500 cars and SUVs to fix problems with electric power steering controls and electric vehicle software. The largest of two recalls covers about 110,000 2015 Camry midsize sedans and Highlander SUVs, as well as 2014 and 2015 RAV4 SUVs. Toyota says a circuit board in the electric power steering may have been damaged at the factory. Power-assisted steering could fail, increasing the effort needed to steer and raising the risk of a crash. The other recall covers 2,500 RAV4 electric vehicles from 2012 through 2014. Software in a motor assembly can make the vehicles shift into neutral on their own. Dealers will fix the motor assembly.
Verizon drops Weather Channel from FiOS
Verizon has dropped the Weather Channel on its FiOS TV service and is instead carrying the new AccuWeather Network. Verizon wants to cut down on content costs and said that customers are increasingly getting their weather information on phone apps and online. Verizon Communications Inc. said in a notice on its website that The Weather Channel's contract ran out and was not renewed for its 5.6 million FiOS TV customers. The company behind the Weather Channel said Tuesday that it was disappointed that the channel was pulled while it was negotiating a contract renewal with Verizon.