Buffalo Wild Wings Responds To Activist Investor, Mercato Capital Management

By Tonya GarciaMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. issued a statement Thursday in response to what it calls "misleading claims" made by activist investors, Mercato Capital Management. The restaurant chain says Mercato based its "flawed analysis" of the company's performance on comparisons with restaurants and retailers that are "meaningfully different," much larger companies, and broad market indices like the Nasdaq. "Buffalo Wild Wings should instead be compared to its casual dining peers," the company wrote. "The casual dining peer group utilized by Buffalo Wild Wings properly excludes companies that are quick-serve, fast-food or delivery restaurants as well as companies outside the restaurant industry." Among the companies it calls peers are Cheesecake Factory Inc. , Outback Steakhouse parent Bloomin' Brands Inc. , Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. , and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. . "Compared with the median returns generated by this set of our casual dining peers, Buffalo Wild Wings has generated significantly better returns for its shareholders," the statement said, adding that the company has had compounded annual returns of more than 24% annually since its IPO. Buffalo Wild Wings shares are unchanged in premarket trading and up 20.1% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 16.4% for the last 12 months.

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