Meat Industry INSIGHTS Newsletter

970716 Boston Chicken Shareholder Sells Off 5.6 Million Shares

July 10, 1997 -- Boston Chicken Inc.'s largest outside shareholder sold off 5.6 million shares of stock in the second quarter of 1997, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The selloff left Chancellor LGT Asset Management with only 219,000 shares -- and a 0.34% stake -- in the Golden, CO, restaurant chain. Chancellor had a 10% stake in Boston Chicken as recently as February.

"It's not appropriate for us to comment on the actions of any single shareholder," said Boston Chicken spokeswoman Karen Rugen. "We've chosen to take very aggressive action in response to store performance by transitioning our marketing strategy, which might expect to have an impact."

Boston Chicken has seen its stock drop from a high of $41.50 per share in December to a record-low $11.56 1/4 in mid July. The drop has come amid concern about increasing losses by Boston Market franchises and news that the company is cutting back on expansion.

The company last month fired one-third of the headquarters employees to reduce costs; consolidated administrative functions for its franchisees; and dropped a lunch promotion that was eating up dinner sales.

Despite the tailspin, analyst Steven Toomey of George K. Baum & Co said he still has a "buy" rating on Boston Chicken. "If they can come anywhere close to hitting the numbers we have out there, the stock looks ridiculously cheap," Toomey said.

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