STK Steakhouse, Kona Grill parent paying $365M for Benihana chain

The parent company of STK Steakhouse and Kona Grill is poised to double its number of restaurants through an acquisition.

Denver-based The One Group announced last week that it is under contract to buy Safflower Holdings Corp., which owns Benihana and RA Sushi.

One Group said in a press release that the $365 million deal will be financed by $160 million in preferred equity and a portion of a $390 million loan. The restaurant group expects the deal to close by the end of the second quarter.

One Group did $332.8 million in revenue last year, according to financial filings. The company anticipates that the acquisition will bring in an additional $575 million in revenue.

One Group has 63 restaurants globally, two of which are in Denver: a STK Steakhouse in LoDo and a Kona Grill in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

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According to financial filings, The One Group plans on opening six to eight new locations this year, including a new seafood concept in Cherry Creek. That concept, dubbed Saltwater Social, will debut at 201 N. Columbine St., formerly home to the Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill.

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Founded in 2004, the company went public in 2013 by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, commonly referred to as a SPAC deal. Shares of the One Group’s stock have risen about 40% since the deal was announced, closing on Monday around $5.50.

Benihana, a Japanese restaurant that cooks on a flat grill in front of customers, was founded in 1964 and has 88 company-owned locations nationwide and 17 franchised locations. Emanuel Hilario, president and CEO of The One Group, described the restaurant in a statement as “an American cultural icon with timeless appeal.”

There are two Benihanas in Colorado, in Denver’s Hampden neighborhood and Broomfield, both of which have an RA Sushi inside, according to the company’s website. The sushi concept was founded in 1997 and bought by Benihana in 2002. RA Sushi has 17 locations across nine states, according to its website.

This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.

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