Surprising(ish?) news late today: Brinker International just announced that a year and a half after it unloaded its majority interest Romano's Macaroni Grill to San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital, it's selling On the Border to the equity firm as well. For how much? The press release doesn't say. But the announcement comes three months after LBJ Freeway-HQ'd Brinker reported a 5 percent drop in same-store sales during the second quarter of its fiscal year.
Should the sale go through at the end of the year, as Brinker and Golden Gate expect, that'll leave Brinker with just two brands in its inventory: Chili's and Maggiano's. (Brinker acquired On the Border, founded by El Chico-ex David Franklin, in 1994 for $32 million in stock -- right around the time Brinker and Phil Romano were looking to launch CozyMel's Grill in Plano.) Says Brinker chair and CEO Doug Brooks, as he orders one last OTB House Margarita, "This decision enhances long-term value for our shareholders, and we believe that On the Border will continue to thrive under new ownership." Stock's up a few cents in after-hours trading -- to $20.27. It was only two years ago,, with the stock hovering around the $16.73 mark, that folks were referring to Brinker as "troubled."
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In related news: I can't recall the last time I went to an On the Border. I do recall I used to like the one on Knox quite a bit. Fairly sure that was sometime in the early '90s.