Sizzler Owners Prep Chain for Sale

CULVER CITY, Calif., Feb. 8 // PRNewswire // -- Sizzler, the 50-year-old American family steakhouse chain, may return to American ownership, the result of its Australian owners' decision to sell the venerable brand.

Sydney-based Pacific Equity Partners, which acquired Sizzler from Worldwide Restaurant Concepts and took it private in 2005, hired Los Angeles- based Houlihan Lokey to find a buyer for the chain's U.S. and international businesses. It expects to complete the sale within six months. Sizzler's day-to-day operations are unaffected by the decision to market the company.

Sizzler owns or franchises more than 300 restaurants in 17 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and China. It will open its first restaurant in Mexico later this year.

"The Sizzler team has completed a fantastic journey since the buyout of Worldwide Restaurant Concepts," said Pacific Equity Partners Managing Director Rob Koczkar. "It has reinvigorated company properties and operations and greatly improved profitability, while reigniting the franchise community and mapping a new path for the brand. With such a strong foundation now in place, Sizzler can be better guided by a partner with more experience and presence in the U.S. market."

Unrelated to the sale, Ken Cole, Sizzler USA president and CEO since 2001, announced his resignation effective February 22. Cole, who has maintained a residence in his home state of West Virginia, will become CEO of casual dining chain Quaker Steak & Lube, based in neighboring Pennsylvania.

"My long-term plan was to eventually return home," said Cole. "The decision to leave Sizzler was extremely difficult, but this is the right thing to do for my family. There's a great team in place at Sizzler USA to carry on our work, and I will always be Sizzler's greatest supporter. It is a wonderful company and group of franchisees, and I know it will continue to prosper for many years."

Kevin Perkins, CEO of Collins Foods Group, which also is owned by Pacific Equity Partners, and former Sizzler USA president, will assume Cole's responsibilities. "Ken is a great friend who made many contributions to rebuilding Sizzler," Perkins said. "We respect his decision to return home, but he will be greatly missed."

Founded in suburban Los Angeles in January 1958, Sizzler is celebrating 50 years of serving great steaks, seafood and salad - always at a great value. Sizzler owns or franchises more than 300 restaurants worldwide. Having updated its restaurants, menus and marketing, Sizzler is expanding in the U.S., Asia and Latin America.

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