YUM: What Concept Could Yum Acquire Next?

By Ryan D. Lavender Published on March 9, 2021 at 4:55 PM

On January 6, 2020, Yum Brands announced its plan to acquire The Habit Burger Grill, which as of full-year 2019 was the 17th-largest burger concept in the U.S. (in terms of domestic systemwide sales, at $450+ million), and in the top 100 overall. The Habit Burger Grill is meaningfully smaller than Yum’s core brands of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. As such, the acquisition of Habit (which closed on March 18, 2020) suggests that: (1) Yum Brands may be generally acquisitive in the future (incidentally, in keeping with current general industry trends), and (2) it isn’t hesitant to make an acquisition that it believes will create shareholder value in the long term, even if the size of that acquisition isn’t all that large relative to its core brands today.

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DENN: Updating Our Stock Rating and EPS Projections

By Ryan D. Lavender Published on February 8, 2021 at 2:57 PM

With this note, we change our rating on Denny’s (DENN; $17.41) to Neutral (from Buy). This change reflects: (1) lowered EPS estimates for 2021E and 2022E, and (2) a reduced same-store sales forecast for Q1E 2021, despite what appears to be some meaningful help from a calendar-shift effect related to Denny’s 2020 being a 53-week fiscal year, and (3) being mindful of DENN shares’ run-up from their 52-week low of $4.50 (intraday March 19, 2020) to $17.41 as of this past Friday’s market close. (FYI, the stock is also up +18.6% year-to-date.)

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WEN Updating Our Rating on Wendy’s

By Mark Kalinowski Published on May 13, 2020 at 12:00 AM

With this report, we change our rating on the shares of Wendy’s (WEN) to Neutral (from Buy). Our ratings change largely reflects two factors: (1) a possible slowdown in U.S. same-store sales momentum given recent media attention about alleged beef shortages at Wendy’s, and (2) the stock’s rise from $7.47 as of the March 13th market close to $20.78 as of yesterday’s (May 13th’s) market close. Shares of WEN have also outperformed the S&P 500 by 5-6 percentage points year-to-date, despite being in what is arguably one of the more challenged industries in a COVID-19 world.

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