Activist Investor Takes Stake in Outback Steakhouse Owner

A regulatory filing didn't specify what changes Starboard is looking for at Bloomin' Brands.

Outback Steakhouse restaurant, Brandon, Fla., June 5, 2007.
Outback Steakhouse restaurant, Brandon, Fla., June 5, 2007.
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File

Activist investor Starboard Value has taken a nearly 10% stake in Bloomin' Brands, the parent company of restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse.

Shares of Bloomin' Brands climbed more than 7% in Friday midday trading. The stock is up about 40% in the year to date.

Bloomin' Brands, which is based in Tampa, Florida, also owns casual dining restaurants Carrabba's Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill, among others. It owns more than 1,450 locations, some of which are franchises, in 47 states and 13 countries.

A regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission didn't specify what changes Starboard is looking for at Bloomin' Brands.

Earlier this month the restaurant chain said it swung to a profit in the second quarter and adjusted earnings per share beat Wall Street expectations. Bloomin' Brands also reaffirmed its full-year guidance and said it expects sales at locations open at least a year β€” a key metric in the restaurant industry β€” to grow in a range of 2% to 4%.

Starboard has a history in the restaurant sector. In 2014 Starboard succeeded in its bid to take control of the board of Olive Garden's parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc. At the time, Starboard was looking for Darden to cut costs and said Olive Garden had an overly complicated menu.

In 2019 struggling pizza company Papa John's turned to Starboard to help it engineer a turnaround. The chain named Starboard CEO Jeff Smith as its chairman.

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