An Horry County judge approved the sale of Hooters at a hearing Thursday, but a legal battle is brewing between two companies seeking to buy the international restaurant chain best known for its “Hooters Girls” waitresses.
Chanticleer Investors LLC is trying to exercise a right to block the sale of Hooters of America, Inc. to Wellspring Capital Management. Hooters granted Chanticleer “the right of first refusal” in a previous loan agreement that would give them precedence over any other bidder seeking to buy the company.
A sale to either company is expected to close before Dec. 31, said Jim Creel, one of the estate’s five executors, during his testimony.
Thursday’s hearing was the latest chapter in efforts to settle the estate of Robert "Bob" Brooks, a Loris native who bought Hooters in 1986 and oversaw an expansion that made the chain a globally recognized brand. Brooks died in 2006 and his will divided his ownership of Hooters, awarding his son and daughter the largest stakes.
The settlement became more complicated when his second wife, Tami Springs Brooks, rejected the will as written and elected to take one-third of the estate’s total value, which includes Hooters, an action allowed under S.C. law. She attended the hearing, as did several other family members, but declined to comment.