Owner Of "Salt Bae" Steakhouse Chain Is Scrambling To Find A Partner At A $1 Billion Valuation

Back in March of this year, we wrote that the owner of the "Salt Bae" chain of steakhouse chain was saddled with debt that it was desperately trying to renegotiate. 

Now, less than a year later, the chain's owners are still struggling to raise cash and are looking to sell a combined stake or individual holding in the steakhouse to a group of investors, according to Bloomberg

Turkish billionaire Ferit Sahenk is majority owner of the business, which we noted was ravaged by the collapse of the Turkish Lira earlier this year. There's been "strong interest" from international investors in the chain and a financial adviser is assessing potential bids, according to people familiar with the matter.

That is, of course, unless people familiar with the matter is Sahenk himself who leaked the "news" to draw attention to the situation and try and stoke bids. But we digress...

The valuation of the chain is said to potentially reach as high as $1 billion. The Nusr-Et chain also operates steakhouses and burger joints in New York, Miami, Dubai and Mykonos. Nusret Gokce and Mithat Erdem own a combined 49% of the chain, while Sahenk's Dogus Restaurants Entertainment and Management owns the rest.

Dogus has been struggling to pay off loans after the Turkish Lira's collapse. The group was able, however, to restructure $2.5 billion of debt in December and has been liquidating stakes in hotels and restaurants as part of the new agreement.

In August, Sahenk said he could wind up disposing of more than $880 million in investments. The company sold 17% of D.ream International BV to Singapore state owned firm Temasek and London-Based PE firm Metric Capital Partners for $200 million in 2018. 

Dogus was also considering spinning off some of its restaurant business into an IPO in London. The company posted EBITDA of about $70 million this year. 

Sahenk was once Turkey's richest man and spent heavily on hospitality businesses after selling his 31% stake in Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS and netting nearly $5.5 billion.