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Chanticleer Holdings to own its first Hooters in the U.S.

Charlotte-based Chanticleer Holdings said Thursday it is acquiring two Hooters restaurants in Oregon and Washington state, giving the company its first Hooters locations in the U.S.

Chanticleer, a Hooters franchisee whose focus has long been on growing the brand outside the U.S., said the restaurants are in Portland and Tacoma. The $3 million stock deal calls for Chanticleer to issue the sellers, Hooters of Oregon Partners and Hooters of Washington, 600,000 Chanticleer shares and the rights to buy additional shares.

The sale is expected to close by Jan. 31.

Chanticleer was formed in 2005. Its business strategy has been to expand Hooters to other countries. Chanticleer also owns a minority interest in Hooters of America, the Atlanta-based parent company of the Hooters brand, but none of Chanticleer’s Hooters have been in the U.S.

Chanticleer CEO Mike Pruitt said his company was approached last year by the owner of the Oregon and Washington Hooters about buying the restaurants. Pruitt said the deal gives Chanticleer the right to open additional Hooters across the two states, but he declined to give a figure for how many more are planned.

Chanticleer sees potential in the Northwest market, Pruitt said. He said Seattle is a strong sports city that doesn’t yet have a Hooters. Chanticleer is also interested in expanding the Charlotte-based Just Fresh restaurant chain to Oregon and Washington, he said. Chanticleer has a majority stake in Just Fresh.

Thursday’s deal comes as Chanticleer has been trying to increase its number of Hooters to help the company overcome the costs of being public and reach profitability. In the third quarter, the company reported a loss of $1.4 million, up from a loss of $740,000 the same period a year ago.

According to its website, Chanticleer has eight Hooters. They are in South Africa, Australia and Europe. Others are planned for Australia and Brazil, the website says.

The company has also been seeking opportunities outside of Hooters. In October, Chanticleer bought Charlotte-based American Roadside Burgers, its first departure from Hooters. In November, it said it had acquired a majority stake in the companies that own Just Fresh. In December, it said it signed an agreement to buy a Texas seafood restaurant, Spoon Bar & Kitchen, and that it invested $500,000 in a Las Vegas nightclub, Beacher’s Madhouse.

Chanticleer has said it is interested in bringing the American Roadside Burgers and Just Fresh concepts overseas, but no announcements have been made.

Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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