Cheesecake Factory to buy Arizona-based Fox restaurants in $400 million deal

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Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts has agreed to be acquired by The Cheesecake Factory Inc., which also will acquire the remaining interest in North Italia, in a deal valued at more than $400 million.

Founded by Sam Fox in Tucson, Fox Restaurant Concepts operates 45 restaurants in seven states and Washington, D.C., including Blanco Tacos + Tequila, Culinary Dropout, North Italia, Wildflower and Zinburger in Tucson.

The publicly traded Cheesecake Factory paid $44 million for a minority stake in Fox’s North Italia business in 2016 and said it will pay about $130 million for the rest of that business along with the related Flower Child restaurants in the Phoenix area and California.

Culinary Dropout

Sam Fox, owner of Fox Restaurant Concepts

The deal for the privately held Fox Restaurant Concepts will be completed with a $308 million cash payment at closing, the companies said. The Cheesecake Factory also will be liable for an additional $45 million in payments over four years, based on the financial performance of the Fox businesses.

Counting $88 million that The Cheesecake Factory previously invested in North Italia, consideration for the deal will total about $440 million, the California-based company said in an investor presentation.

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