METAIRIE, La., July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Ruth's Chris Steak House and Madison Dearborn Partners today announced an agreement that calls for the Chicago-based private equity investment firm to purchase a majority stake in the restaurant group. Terms of the agreement, which is expected to close in August, were not disclosed. Ruth's Chris Steak House announced in January 1999 that the company's majority shareholders, the Fertel Family, intended to explore alternatives to reduce their ownership position in the Company. "We are proud to welcome Madison Dearborn Partners, as the majority shareholder, to the Ruth's Chris Steak House family," stated William L. Hyde, Jr., President and CEO of Ruth's Chris Steak House. "Ruth's Chris has a thirty-four year tradition as the leader in fine dining. Combining the strength of the Ruth's Chris brand with the financial savvy and sector experience of Madison Dearborn Partners is a winning formula for continued success." In making the announcement Mr. Hyde emphasized that company Founder, Ruth Fertel, will continue to be a shareholder. "Ruth Fertel has dedicated her life to building Ruth's Chris Steak House and will continue to lend her experience and valued expertise in the future. Madison Dearborn's majority stake in Ruth's Chris Steak House, combined with the investment of management and the Fertel Family, will enhance the company's leadership position." "Ruth's Chris Steak House is the leading fine dining brand in a growing segment of the restaurant industry, and we look forward to building on that success," stated Robin P. Selati, Managing Director of Madison Dearborn Partners. "The company is poised to accelerate both domestic and international growth. This, coupled with the fact that we are backing a very experienced management team, offers our partners an attractive investment opportunity." Established in New Orleans in 1965, Ruth's Chris Steak House is the nation's largest upscale, fine dining restaurant group. Featuring USDA Prime beef, custom aged and served sizzling, Ruth's Chris has established a reputation for excellent food served in an intimate, yet inviting atmosphere. The Louisiana based company currently operates 68 restaurants worldwide. Madison Dearborn is a private equity firm based in Chicago, which invests primarily in management buyouts, recapitalizations and growth equity transactions. Madison Dearborn manages approximately $4 billion of capital focusing on investments in specific sectors, including consumer, industrial, communications, natural resources, and health care services.
SOURCE Ruth's Chris Steak House