COLUMBUS — Bob Evans Farms, Inc., announced Tuesday the sale of the Bob Evans Restaurants and the acquisition of Pineland Farms Potato Company in order to focus further on its BEF Foods business.
According to a press release, BEF Foods is a “national market share leader in refrigerated dinner side dishes, and is also the market share leader in sausage products in its core Midwest markets.”
The “new Bob Evans” will reportedly be strengthened by the manufacturing and intellectual abilities of Pineland Farms Potato Company and will allow for higher profit and growth potential for company shareholders and allow better products for customers.
President and Chief Executive Officer Saed Mohseni said, “Today, we announced two transactions that are a major step in our strategic transformation we believe will continue Bob Evans’ history of success. The sale of Bob Evans Restaurants enables us to concentrate exclusively on BEF Foods, our fastest growing and most profitable segment. We believe this will result in higher returns for our shareholders, and as a more focused private business, Bob Evans Restaurants will be better able to deliver on its brand promise of providing quality food and hospitality to every guest at every meal.”
Bob Evans Farms has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of Bob Evans Restaurants to an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital for $565 million plus assumption of certain net working capital liabilities at the time of closing estimated to be $40 to $50 million. The company estimates that cash proceeds net of taxes and transaction-related costs will be $475 to $485 million. Net cash proceeds are expected to be used to repay current indebtedness and payment of a special dividend. Additionally, the company entered into a definitive agreement for the purchase of PFPC for $115 million. The purchase price may be increased by up to $25 million if certain financial metrics are achieved during a 24 month period after closing.
Following the closing of the Bob Evans Restaurants transaction, Mike Townsley, President of BEF Foods, will assume the role of President and Chief Executive Officer of Bob Evans. Townsley Joined Bob Evans as president and chief operating officer of Owens Foods, Inc., in June 2003. He was appointed president of BEF Foods in June 2008 and served as co-chief executive officer from December 2014 to September 2015.
During the annual Bob Evans Farm Festival in Rio Grande last year, Mohseni told the Tribune the company was reconnecting with the Bob Evans family in order to better strengthen the company’s future.
Back in October, Mohseni said the corporation was reconnecting with the Evans family to blend the best of new business with the strength of old-fashioned traditions and family integrity.
“Everyone has a different definition of what makes success,” Mohseni said. “My view of success is the DNA of the company. Where does it come from? Who took part in making it?”
Mohseni said it was important to understand the history of where the company came from and to include their ideas in with the company’s future. Mohseni said recent marketing campaigns refocused on the old commercial jingle well-known to customers, as well as other similar efforts. Bob Evans himself can often be seen in the commercials.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the restaurant line suffered a hit as it closed 21 restaurants in 10 states with a decline in same-store sales.
The farm festival is one of the largest events put on in Gallia County every year. Among locals, it is seen as an icon of the area. The Bob Evans brand generates more than $1.5 billion in sales and serves 80 million guests a year. The festival serves as both an example of the restaurant brand’s success, southeastern Ohio culture and family values.
Editor’s Note: Dean Wright contributed to this article.