Steak n Shake chief snaps up more shares

August 27, 2009

Steak n Shake Co. CEO Sardar Biglari revealed in regulatory filings this week that he spent $1.1 million buying shares in the locally based burger chain, an apparent vote of confidence in his own turnaround plans.

Biglari, a 31-year-old Texas hedge fund manager who gained control of the chain after a proxy fight last year, picked up more than 107,000 shares from Aug. 19 to Aug. 21. He now controls more than 9 percent of the company's outstanding shares, which this morning traded at about $10.75 apiece.

The company earlier this month said it plans to acquire the 110-unit  Western Sizzlin restaurant chain, another outfit Biglari runs, for $23 million. His Lion Fund controls 33 percent of Western Sizzlin shares.

When Biglari first bought shares in Steak n Shake, he agitated for tighter cost controls and a move to franchising rather than owning restaurants. And he scolded the management for its failure to communicate with shareholders.

Biglari has been secretive about his own plans, not yet offering an explanation for the Western Sizzlin deal. He doesn't hold conference calls with Wall Street analysts or return phone calls from reporters.

In June, he took a more-than-$600,000 raise and now earns a cash-only salary of $900,000. Previous CEOs at the chain earned compensation more closely tied to the chain's share-price performance.

In an apparently unrelated move, Steak n Shake Chief Operating Officer Omar Janjua this week announced his resignation effective Sept. 5.


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