Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc. (the “Company”) today announced that its Board of Directors, working together with its management team and financial advisors, Piper Jaffray, has commenced a process to pursue the sale of the Company’s business, which could be sold as an entirety or through the separate sales of its two restaurant brands, Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap.
The Company also announced changes in its senior management team. Robert S. Merritt, who has served on the Company’s board of directors since March 2014 and as its Chief Executive Officer since November 2015, has resigned from those positions, but will continue to serve as a consultant to the Company. Jonathan Tibus, a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal, has been elected Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Most recently, Mr. Tibus served as CEO of Last Call Operating Co., which owned and managed over 80 restaurants under the brand names of Champps, Bailey’s, and Fox & Hound. He also recently served as Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO) to Quiznos, a sandwich restaurant franchisor with over 2,000 domestic and international stores, and as Chief Operating Officer (COO) to Max & Erma’s, a $150 million chain of casual dining restaurants.
The Board of Directors also elected Brad Leist, the Company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, to the additional position of Chief Administrative Officer, and promoted Steve Metzger, the Company’s Vice President and General Counsel, to Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the Company. Ellen Clarry will continue as a member of the senior executive team in her role as Chief Supply Officer.
Paul R. Vigano, Chairman of Ignite Restaurant Group, stated, "We would like to thank Bob for his contributions to Ignite and for him agreeing to continue on in a consulting capacity to ensure a smooth transition. We are pleased that Jon Tibus will be joining the Company. His background and experience is exactly what we need right now – we believe Jon Tibus and the rest of the management team are the right people to lead the Company through our ongoing review of strategic alternatives, including the sale process we announced today.”
There can be no assurance that the process that the Company is undertaking will be successful. In addition, the Company cannot predict the terms or timing of any transaction that it may undertake or whether any such transaction will result in any proceeds for the holders of the Company’s common stock.
About Ignite Restaurant Group
Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, operates a portfolio of restaurant concepts, including Joe's Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap, in a diverse set of markets across the United States. Each brand offers a variety of high-quality food in a distinctive, casual, high-energy atmosphere. For more information on Ignite and its distinctive brands, visit www.igniterestaurants.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which may be beyond the Company's control. The Company cautions you that the forward-looking information presented in this press release is not a guarantee of future events, and that actual events and results may differ materially from those made in or suggested by the forward-looking information contained in this press release. In particular, as noted above, the Company may not be successful in selling the Company or either of its two restaurant brands, or in otherwise improving the Company’s capital structure, and the failure of either of these initiatives or may require the Company to seek relief in bankruptcy or complete a sale as part of a bankruptcy. In addition, forward-looking statements generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may," "plan," "seek," "comfortable with," "will," "expect," "intend," "estimate," "anticipate," "believe" or "continue" or the negative thereof or variations thereon or similar terminology.
A number of important factors could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in or implied by the forward-looking statements included in this press release, including the risk factors discussed in the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended January 2, 2017 filed earlier today (which can be found at the SEC's website www.sec.gov). Each such risk factor is specifically incorporated into this press release. Any forward-looking information presented herein is made only as of the date of this press release, and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information to reflect changes in assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events, or otherwise.