Bob Evans Takes A Loss On Mimi's


Bob Evans bought a hot restaurant concept called Mimi’s Café in 2004 for $103 million, much of which was assumed debt. Nine difficult years later, Bob Evans is selling Mimi’s, but not at a profit. The Columbus, Ohio-based company said today that it sold Mimi’s to LeDuff America for $50 million.

That price includes $20 million in cash and a note for $30 million. It’s also a far cry from the $200 million that has been bandied about as the potential purchase price for Mimi’s over the past several months amid rumors that the chain was for sale. We said last month that the chain could fetch about $60 million. And even that estimate has proven high.

Mimi’s earnings have been hurt by years of declining sales—it hasn’t had an increase in same store sales since 2005 and the 145-unit chain isn’t profitable, having lost $8.4 million in the first half of the company’s fiscal year, through October. In short: Bob Evans’ purchase of Mimi’s has proven to be a bad fit.

For Bob Evans, the sale enables it to focus on its core family dining chain while it continues to pursue expansion through its grocery business. “This transaction is a positive development for Bob Evans and for Mimi’s Café,” CEO Steve Davis said in a statement.

For LeDuff, the acquisition makes sense. Mimi’s, after all, is a French-inspired casual dining chain. And LeDuff is the subsidiary of Groupe LeDuff, the French company that owns Bruegger’s Bagels and La Madeleine Country French Café. There had been rumors that LeDuff was looking into Mimi’s in recent weeks. It appears those rumors were true. “We are very excited by the potential of the brand,” Claude Bergeron, chairman and co-CEO of LeDuff America, said in a statement.


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