(Reuters) – At least six state investment firms are interested in buying the property assets of restaurant and packaged food company Bob Evans Farms Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The bidders include Spirit Realty Capital Inc, American Realty Capital Properties Inc, Store Capital and National Retail Properties Inc, the Journal reported.
Bob Evans shares were down 1 percent at $47.08 in early trading on Thursday on the Nasdaq.
Shareholder Sandell Asset Management Corp said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that it had been contacted by several investment firms interested in buying Bob Evans’ real estate assets.
The hedge fund said it had also been contacted by a private equity firm that was interested in discussing a deal for Bob Evans’ food products division, BEF Foods.
Sandell Asset has been urging the company to separate its food-products business and “unlock real estate value” embedded in its restaurant properties through a sale-leaseback transaction.
The activist-investor, which reported a 9.2 percent stake on Wednesday, said in June that the company’s real estate assets were worth more than $900 million.
Sandell Asset has also been pressuring the company to change its board and last month managed to get four of its nominees elected to the 12-member board of directors.
Bob Evans, Sandell Asset Management, Spirit Realty Capital, American Realty Capital, Store Capital, and National Retail Properties were not immediately available for comment.