Benihana To Be Sold for $296 Million to Private Investors

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Less than two years after Burger King was sold to private investors, another Miami-Dade-based national restaurant chain is going private. It was announced today that Angelo, Gordon & Co.'s Private Equity Group will pay $296 million for Benihana, Inc. and take the chain private.

Benihana is, of course, best known for its theatrical chefs who prepare food on a grill at customer's tables. Which, admit it, probably made it one of your favorite restaurants as a kid, if it still isn't. The company also owns the RA Sushi and Haru chains. The Doral-based company owns 95 restaurants, and 16 additional restaurants are operated under franchise agreements.

The private equity firm will pay a price equal to $16.30 a share. The company's stock closed at $13.30 last night. The agreement must be approved by shareholders, and could be approved sometime in the second half of this year according to the South Florida Business Journal.

"This is a win for our growing base of loyal customers who enjoy our restaurants every day, and for our future customers in markets hungry for the dramatic, high-quality Japanese dining that only our brands can deliver," the company's Chairman, President and CEO Richard Stockinger said in a news release.

The company was founded by Hiroaki Aoki in New York City back in 1964 (and the original location was actually once featured on Mad Men). Though, Aoki is also known today, to some unfortunate degree, as the man who fathered DJ Steve Aoki.

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