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Roark Capital Makes Offer to Buy Buffalo Wild Wings

A Buffalo Wild Wings location in Colorado

Investment bankers at Barclays PLC are working with Roark, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is advising Buffalo Wild Wings , the people said.

Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings is a purveyor of chicken wings, beer and other bar snacks at more than 1,200 locations world-wide. The company was founded in 1982 and went public in 2003.

Buffalo Wild Wings has been hurt by increasing chicken prices and slumping traffic in its restaurants and had been under attack from Marcato Capital Management LP. The activist investor had pushed the company to franchise more stores, boost profit margins, increase sales and replace its chief executive.

In June, Buffalo Wild Wings shareholders voted in Marcato’s founder and two of its nominees to the company’s board. Chief Executive Sally Smith announced she would retire by the end of the year.

The stock, which had already been under pressure, has fallen more since then. Even when it had been above $150 a share, Marcato argued that it was well undervalued. So it isn’t clear how receptive the company would be to a proposal around that level.

Roark focuses on franchise-based companies and has investments in Arby’s, Carvel, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Carl’s Jr.

There has been a spate of restaurant consolidation in the last year. In April European investment fund JAB Holding Co. agreed to buy Panera Bread for roughly $7 billion. Just last week, JAB agreed to buy Au Bon Pain.

Roark had been a contender to buy fried-chicken restaurant Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. earlier this year, but lost out to Restaurant Brands International Inc.

—David Benoit contributed to this article.