Outback owner Bloomin' Brands to explore sale, shares rise

(Reuters) - Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin' Brands Inc BLMN.O said on Wednesday it would explore strategic options, including a sale, two months after activist investor Jana Partners disclosed plans to push for changes at the company.

Shares of Bloomin’ Brands rose 10% to $23.08 after the company’s announcement, boosting its market capitalization to $2 billion.

“Despite this continued progress, we believe the current stock price does not reflect the value of the company. That is why the time is right to explore strategic alternatives,” David Deno, chief executive officer of Bloomin’ Brands, said in a statement.

Jana Partners declined to comment.

In August, Jana Partners disclosed a 9% stake in Bloomin’ Brands and said it plans to discuss strategic alternatives with the management, returning for the second time, after reaching a settlement in 2018.

Bloomin’ Brands, the owner of Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill, operates more than 1,400 restaurants across the Unites States.

Reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel