U.S. Markets closed

Fidelity National to pay more for J. Alexander's

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Fidelity National Financial Inc. has agreed to raise its price to acquire restaurant chain operator J. Alexander's Corp. to about $78 million from $72 million, with the total to be paid entirely in cash rather than a combination of cash and stock.

The two companies said on Tuesday that they had amended the agreement announced on June 25.

Fidelity National agreed to make a cash tender offer to acquire all of the shares of J. Alexander's for $13 apiece. That's up from the original agreement of $12 per share, in a combination of cash and stock.

The amended agreement has been unanimously approved by Alexander's board, which recommends approval to the company's shareholders.

Shares of J. Alexander's rose $1.28, or about 11 percent, to $13.03 in afternoon trading, slightly above the new deal price. Shares of Fidelity National slipped 9 cents to $18.72.

Shares of J. Alexander had traded below $12 after the plans were announced in June at the original price, and before Tuesday's announcement of the amended terms.

On the day before the initial deal was announced, shares of J. Alexander closed at $9.90.

The transaction is expected to close sometime in the last three months of the year.

Nashville, Tenn.-based J. Alexander's will be combined with the restaurant operations of American Blue Ribbon Holdings Inc., a Fidelity subsidiary with annual revenue totaling about $1.3 million.

J. Alexander's operates 33 namesake restaurants in 13 states, while American Blue Ribbon owns and operates 674 restaurants in 43 states. Its brands include Bakers Square, Max & Erma's, Village Inn, Stoney River Legendary Steaks, O'Charley's, Ninety Nine and Legendary Baking.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fidelity is a title insurer, but also holds interests in a variety of companies including American Blue Ribbon. Once the deal closes, American Blue Ribbon's annual revenue is expected to total about $1.5 billion, Fidelity has said.