Carrie Rengers

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Fox & Hound parent company files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

12/16/2013 10:22 AM

12/16/2013 10:53 AM

UPDATED — Wichita-based F&H Acquisition Group, which does business as Fox & Hound and Champps Americana, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“Obviously it’s a difficult decision,” says spokesman Rick Van Warner.

“Over the last several months, the company has looked at a number of different options to restructure the debt or to restructure the corporate financial structure,” he says. “We decided that the best option to most quickly and efficiently get through the turnaround plan that we’re working on is to do so under Chapter 11 protection.”

The filing lists F&H’s liabilities and assets both as somewhere between $100 million and $500 milllion.

Warner says there have been several issues that led to the company’s struggles.

“It’s been a very soft environment overall for casual dining restaurants, including our concepts,” he says. “In addition, our debt levels from the past were high, and you know, you add all that together along with the fact that real estate markets have changed a lot in the country . . . and there’s a whole number of factors that lead to a financial restructuring of this type.”

Warner says the bankruptcy filing will impact the corporation but not day-to-day business at the restaurants.

“It’s not going to impact anything we’re doing at the restaurants,” he says. “Most of the restaurants generate meaningful cash flow still, and our brands are making solid progress.”

There are 66 Fox & Hound restaurants, including one at Wichita’s Waterfront development, which is also where the company has its headquarters. There are 35 Champps restaurants.

He says the bankruptcy filing is more about “a fresh start.” The company also is looking for what Warner calls a cash infusion, but he says he can’t be more specific about that.

“It’s hard to tell,” Warner says of where the money may come from. “It’s a process. It’s to be determined.”

He adds, “We really need a more sound capital structure to have a strong platform for future growth. That’s really what this is about.”

Warner says there have been leadership changes at the company in the last year.

Former CEO Steve Johnson left in October 2012.

“I left for personal reasons,” he says.

Marc Buehler is now CEO, and Warner says Buehler divides his time between Wichita and Dallas.

“There’s several other new leaders in the company,” Warner says.

Look for more information on the filing shortly.

About Carrie Rengers

Carrie Rengers joined The Eagle's Business team in 2002 despite her inability to even balance a checkbook. Fortunately for her, and readers, her Have You Heard? blog is about business scoops and contains lots of news but almost no math.

A Michigan native, Carrie’s father was quite tragically transferred to Little Rock, Ark., in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. To make matters worse, her parents put her in a girls school. She recovered, though, and went on to enjoy being an English major at Hendrix College (the Harvard of the Ozarks, don’t you know). She worked for the weekly Arkansas Business and the statewide daily Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before moving to Wichita to be with her favorite writer and cook, husband Joe Stumpe.

Carrie encourages readers to contact her with tips, questions, behind-the-scenes business news and even funny quotes from business people. Reach her at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com

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