Call it a corporate catch-and-release: Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands, parent of Outback Steakhouse and more, has agreed to sell off its interest in the seafood-based Roy's chain to United Ohana, a newly formed company whose founder owns and operates 69 Applebee's in Texas. The transaction is expected to close in the next 30 to 60 days. A sale price was not disclosed.
Roy's — and that mouth-watering Japanese Misoyaki Butterfish with Sizzling Vinaigrette — was acquired by Bloomin' in 2000; celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi and his yowza-spicy Pacific Rim concoctions were enticing acquirements. There are 29 Roy's locations around the world, 20 of which were owned by Bloomin'.
But alas, the once-rabid demands for butterfish — not to mention Roy's Famous Chocolate Souffle — had cooled far too much for demanding Bloomin' CEO Liz Smith, who set the sale in motion in early November, remarking that "Roy's would do better outside this portfolio."
Despite reporting revenues of more than $1 billion for the latest quarter, Bloomin' also posted a net loss of $11.4 million.
Selling Roy's puts Bloomin's count of chains at a tight but profitable "Core Four," as Smith calls her stalwarts: Outback, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Roy's now joins Lee Roy Selmon's, Cheeseburger in Paradise and Paul Lee's Chinese Kitchen as chains that Bloomin' Brands has sold off or closed.