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A Look Back At M&A Deals In The Restaurant Sector

Jayson Derrick

2019 was a busy year for the restaurant sector with multiple M&A transactions involving big and small names. Here is a summary of some of the more notable deals as compiled by Nation's Restaurant News.

American Express Buys Resy

American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) acquired Resy, a digital restaurant reservation booking and management platform in May. The credit card company hoped to leverage its acquisition to grow its digital-first benefits and services to cardholders beyond standard reward and points.

Del Frisco's Sells Itself

Steakhouse chain Del Frisco's reached an agreement to sell itself to private equity firm L Catterton for $650 million (including debt), or $8 per share.

The deal was signed in June and follows months of pressure from activist investor Engaged Capital who pushed the restaurant chain to explore strategic alternatives.

Performance Food Group Acquires Reinhart Foodservice

Foodservice distribution company Performance Food Group Co (NYSE: PFGC) announced in July it will acquire Reinhart Foodservice from Reyes Holdings in a $2 billion transaction. The acquisition will expand Performance Food's geographic reach and overall scale and create an entity with combined $30 billion in net sales.

Cheesecake Buys Fox And North Italia

Casual restaurant chain Cheesecake Factory Inc (NASDAQ: CAKE) announced in July it will acquire Fox Restaurant Concepts which includes 45 restaurants across seven states. At the same time Cheesecake confirmed it will acquire the remaining interest in North Italia, an upscale and casual-dining Italian themed restaurant.

McDonald's Buys Tech

McDonald's Corp (NYSE: MCD) oversaw two non-food acquisitions in 2019. First, the company bought Dynamic Yield, a leader in personalization and decision logic technology in March. McDonald's plans on using the technology to offer a more personalized customer experience by changing a digital drive thru display based on time of day, weather, and other factors.

Second, the company bought Apprente, an early stage leader in voice-based and conversational technology in September.

The company expects the acquisition to speed up, simplify, and improve order taking at the Drive Thru with the potential for further use in mobile ordering and kiosks.

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