Fred DiSanto insists he’s not looking for a fight with J. Alexander’s Holdings Inc. Ancora’s recent bid to acquire the Nashville-based restaurant chain is all about protecting the interests of his fellow shareholders, says DiSanto, CEO of the investment management firm.
The proposal to purchase J. Alexander’s for $11.75 per share was rejected by the company in a letter sent to Ancora on April 11.
“In regard to the substance of your purported proposal, we believe it represents Ancora’s attempt to acquire control of the Company at as low of a price as possible,” the letter states. “The Board notes that Ancora’s proposed purchase price is more than 12% lower than the Company’s 52-week trading high, and nearly 22% lower than the prevailing equity analyst price target for the Company.”
DiSanto told Smart Business Dealmakers that Ancora made a fair offer and if J. Alexander’s doesn’t agree, “they should run a process and find out what the real value is.”
“We don’t go into these situations with boxing gloves on,” DiSanto said. “We go in to try to build a relationship with the management team and see if we can work together to drive value for the shareholder. That’s always our first intent. They will be reporting in the next couple weeks. We’ll wait to see how they performed for the quarter.”
Ancora owns an 8.5% percent interest in J. Alexander’s. On Thursday, the restaurant chain’s stock closed at $11.03. J. Alexander’s currently operates 46 restaurants in 16 states.