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Oct 14 (Reuters) - Fogo de Chão, the Brazilian steakhouse restaurant chain known for its all-you-can-eat meat tableside service, has hired underwriters for a potential initial public offering (IPO), according to people familiar with the matter.
JPMorgan Chase & Co and Jefferies Group LLC have been assigned lead roles in the IPO, which may come next year and value the company, owned by buyout firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, at as much as $1 billion, including debt, the people said on Tuesday.
The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Fogo de Chão, JPMorgan and Jefferies declined to comment, while Thomas H. Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Based in Dallas, Texas, Fogo de Chão has locations throughout Brazil and the United States.
Fogo de Chão was founded in 1979 in Brazil's Porto Alegre by brothers Jair and Arri Coser. It expanded to the U.S. in 1997 and is now known for its meats which are roasted over pits of open fire in a technique called churrasco.
Thomas H. Lee acquired Fogo de Chão in 2012 for $400 million from investment firm GP Investments Ltd. The company generates roughly $60 million in annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, according to the sources.
Plans for a Fogo de Chão IPO come as other high-growth restaurant concepts are also considering stock market flotations, including hamburger chains Shake Shack and The Habit, as well as fried chicken chain Bojangles'.
Other restaurant groups which have gone public this year include El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc, Zoe's Kitchen Inc and Papa Murphy's Holdings Inc. (Reporting by Olivia Oran and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)