MFG Korea Co., operator of Korean restaurant chain Mad for Garlic, has agreed to take over the Korean operations of TGI Friday`s, a family restaurant chain based in the United States, from Lotte Group at an estimated cost of around 10 billion won ($9 million).
MFG Korea reportedly offered around 10 billion won for the TGI Friday`s Korean operations, according to investment bank industry sources on Tuesday. The acquisition deal could be sealed upon a nod from the U.S head office of TGI Friday`s.
TGI Friday`s had grown to be one of the most popular family restaurant chains in Korea since it opened the first outlet in 1992. It once operated over 50 restaurants across Korea at its peak in 2013. TGI Friday`s in Korea now runs 15 outlets.
Market watchers anticipate TGI Friday`s would revive under MFG Korea, which is backed by Affirma Capital private equity fund that has a successful track record of resuscitating a number of struggling food and beverage companies in Korea. Affirma Capital is the largest shareholder of MFG Korea, owning a 71.42 percent stake through the stock purchase made in 2014 for 50 billion won.
Under Affirma Capital, MFG Korea’s operating profit doubled to 3 billion won in 2019 from 1.5 billion won in 2015, delivering sharp improvement. It suffered 2.9 billion won operating loss last year but the market experts find the company fared better than its peers given the impacts from the Covid-19 crisis.
Lotte Group, meanwhile, has been restructuring its restaurant business. Lotte GRS Co, the restaurant franchise unit of Korean retail giant Lotte Group, is currently liquidating the Indonesian operation of its Lotteria fast food restaurant chain.
By Jin Young-tae, Park Chan-young and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]