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UPDATE 1-Top shareholder Biglari considering Cracker Barrel bid

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 | 10:08 AM ET

Dec 24 (Reuters) - Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc's top shareholder, Sardar Biglari, said he was considering a bid for the restaurant chain, the activist investor's latest attempt to take control of the company.

Sardar Biglari, through his investment firm Biglari Holdings , has been pushing for change at the owner of Steak 'n Shake and Western Sizzlin restaurants for more than two years, saying the company's "earning power" was far too low under the current management.

Biglari Holdings, which holds a 19.9 percent stake in Cracker Barrel, said on Tuesday it was in talks with an investment bank to finance a deal.

Cracker Barrel's shares rose 1 percent in early trading.

Sardar Biglari's latest attempt in November to win board seats was rebuffed by Cracker Barrel's shareholders at the annual meeting. They also rejected his proposal for a $20 per share special dividend.

Biglari last week sent a letter to the Cracker Barrel's board, urging a review of options including a sale.()

In Tuesday's letter, Biglari said he was willing to lead a sale process by submitting a bid, but did not give details.

He also sought support for his efforts to seek an amendment to Tennessee's tough anti-takeover laws, which discourage unfriendly takeovers.

A Cracker Barrel spokesperson declined to comment.

Biglari also said he would consider selling his stake if the company began a share repurchase.

If the Cracker Barrel board does not agree to his terms, the investor said he would call for a special meeting of shareholders to push for the sale.

Cracker Barrel shares were trading up less than one percent at $111 on the Nasdaq on Friday. They have risen 72 percent this year to their Monday close, outpacing the broader S&P 500 index which is up only 28 percent.

Biglari Holdings shares were unchanged at $511.03 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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