COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Restaurant operator Bob Evans Farms Inc. is putting up a for sale sign on its new headquarters just outside Columbus along with two food manufacturing plants as part of stock buyback plan.
The company plans to lease back the properties and use the money from the sale to buy back its stock.
It's the latest move in the company's attempts to improve its bottom-line.
The sale of headquarters in the Columbus suburb of New Albany and food manufacturing plants in Lima and Sulphur Springs, Texas, should go through this summer, said Mark Hood, Bob Evans' chief financial officer.
The company isn't saying how much it expects to get in the deal, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The headquarters, which cost $46.5 million to build, opened in the fall of 2013.
"They are trying to get more shareholder-friendly," said Will Slabaugh, an analyst with Stephens Inc. "It's a net positive. This management team is looking to generate value in any way they can."
Bob Evans closed 17 restaurants this past month, parted ways with its CEO in December and has been working with several advisory firms to improve its productivity and cost controls.
Activist investor Sandell Asset Management Corp. has been pushing for changes at Bob Evans for some time, suggesting the company sell or spin off its food products business, among other changes.
Sandell Asset Management CEO Tom Sandell was critical of the cost of the new headquarters and also has suggested a lease-back for the company's restaurant sites.
Bob Evans Farms has over 500 restaurants in 19 states mostly in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Southeast.