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Bubba Gump Shrimp owner to buy Morton’s steakhouse chain

December 16, 2011 |  9:55 am

Storied -– and expensive -– Chicago steakhouse chain Morton’s Restaurant Group Inc. is going private in an acquisition by Bubba Gump Shrimp and Rainforest Cafe owner Tilman J. Fertitta.

Fertitta’s company, Houston-based Landry’s Restaurants Inc., will buy Morton’s for $6.90 a share, a 34% premium on Thursday’s $5.16 closing price. That's about $117 million total.

The upscale steakhouse chain has a glittering past, including 14 years as the host to Vanity Fair’s famed Oscar party in West Hollywood. There are 11 Morton’s locations in California.

Morton’s board of directors has unanimously approved the deal, which Fertitta plans to finance through cash and debt and which is expected to close in early February. In midday trading Friday in New York, Morton’s shares were up 32.6% to $6.84.

Last month, Landry’s scooped up McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants for $131.6 million after months of hostile takeover attempts.


Carl's Jr. and Hardee's parent company to be sold

Rainforest Cafe owner Landry's to buy McCormick & Schmick's

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: A 48-ounce porterhouse steak at Morton's in Santa Ana. Houston-based Landry’s Restaurants Inc. will buy the Morton’s chain. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times