January 9, 2013 4:27 pm

Noodles & Company interviewing advisers for initial public offering

This article is provided to FT.com readers by mergermarket—a news service focused on providing actionable, origination intelligence to M&A professionals. www.mergermarket.com
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Noodles & Company, the Broomfield, Colorado-based pasta restaurant chain, started a beauty pageant in mid-December to seek advisers for an initial public offering, three industry bankers told mergermarket.

Noodles, owned by private equity firm Catterton Partners since December 2010, did not return calls for comment. Catterton declined to comment.

The company brings in approximately USD 50m in EBITDA, the first banker said.

Banks have yet to receive word on who has won the competition for underwriters, the second and third bankers said, though the first banker said that advisors have already been appointed. Nonetheless, a secret S-1 filing is expected either in April or after 4 July, due to regulations about reporting expected income after that date, the second banker said.

After 4 July, companies are allowed to report expected earnings for the following year, the second banker explained, which would give a more thorough view of projected growth.

The reasoning behind a secret filing was not immediately clear, the second banker said.

In April 2012, President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS Act, enabling companies with less than USD 1bn in revenues to confidentially report business information to the SEC in preparation for an IPO. That information is not available to investors or the general public.

The Noodles IPO would come in the wake of a number of restaurant IPOs over the past year, including Ignite Restaurant Group, Chuy’s Holdings, and Bloomin’ Brands, known for its Outback Steakhouse chain.

An industry source who did not have knowledge of an imminent IPO said that Catterton traditionally likes to test the waters with a dual track process, and compared it with the Cheddar’s IPO. Cheddar’s, which is owned by Catterton, filed a secret S-1 filing in May 2012, though it has yet to list.

Noodles and Company has over 250 locations in 18 states, according to the company website, with approximately 5,600 employees. The company specializes in a number of pasta dishes, ranging from Truffle Macaroni and Cheese to Pad Thai.

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