Why California Pizza Kitchen's Sale Plan is Half-Baked

According to bnet.com, “California Pizza Kitchen (CPKI) joined the restaurant-chain sale frenzy this week, saying it is exploring financial options including a sale or major investment. But while chains such as Carl’s Jr parent CKE Restaurants (CKR) are selling because they urgently need money to pay off debt, California Pizza Kitchen has no such problems. The 250-unit chain would likely be better off waiting until a growing economy boosts its sales and improves its value.”

“With restaurant sales down the past two years, private-equity firms have been circling — for instance, Roark Capital Group snapped up Wingstop’s chain of 440 chicken eateries already this week. Sure, there’s lots of activity, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great time to sell, especially for a chain that’s in relatively good financial shape. There’s no mountain of debt at California Pizza Kitchen — the company has about $21 million cash, which could about pay off its current debt. The company recently said its available cash is adequate for its long-term working capital needs. Though sales at established CPK eateries were down nearly 7 percent last year, total revenue decreased less than 2 percent, thanks to expansion and the company’s lucrative frozen-pizza licensing deals.”