Sentinel and Caxton-Iseman complete $525 million leveraged recapitalization of Buffets, Inc.



NEW YORK, June 30, 2002 - Sentinel Capital Partners and Caxton-Iseman Capital, Inc. are pleased to announce a $525 million leveraged recapitalization of Buffets, Inc. Buffets, headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota, is the largest operator of high quality buffet-style restaurants in the United States with 396 restaurants in 38 states operating under the brand names Old Country Buffet and HomeTown Buffet.

"This recapitalization is designed to give Buffets a more flexible capital structure," said David Lobel, Sentinel's Founder and Managing Partner. "In addition, Buffets' shareholders were able to enjoy a partial realization on our equity investments," Mr. Lobel added.

Buffets is the market leader, currently holding 22% of the $4.2 billion buffet/cafeteria segment, making it nearly twice as large as its next largest competitor. "We are delighted to have worked on this recap with Caxton-Iseman Capital, and we look forward to continuing to serve together on Buffets' Board of Directors and to assist the company's management team in every way possible," Mr. Lobel said.

Credit Suisse First Boston and FleetBancBoston led a syndicate that provided a $295 million senior secured credit facility for the transaction. Credit Suisse First Boston was lead manager for a $230 million high yield debt financing. Co-managers for the high yield offering were Morgan Stanley, Salomon Smith Barney, UBS Warburg, and Fleet Securities, Inc.

Buffets is well positioned in the mid-scale dining segment and offers a convenient, value-priced selection of high quality food and excellent customer service. Buffets was an early innovator of the scatter-bar concept, in which food is presented on self-service islands from which customers select the items and portions of their choice. With innovations such as the scatter-bar system and all-inclusive pricing, Buffets' brands are synonymous with the modern buffet concept.

Buffets' formula of exceptional value, convenience, quality, and service has generated consistent growth in sales and profits. Buffets has also successfully grown comparable store sales for the past several years. Management's strategic objective is to reinforce Buffets' position as the market leader in the buffet-style restaurant segment by expanding its core Old Country Buffet and Hometown Buffet concepts. Buffets will also selectively expand its complementary Tahoe Joe's steakhouse concept.

About Caxton-Iseman Capital
Caxton-Iseman Capital is a leading New York-based private equity investment firm specializing in leveraged buyouts. The firm's investment vehicles currently have $700 million of capital available to them for leveraged buyouts. Caxton-Iseman Capital is funded primarily by affiliates of Caxton Corporation, a New York investment firm whose affiliated companies have in excess of $3.5 billion of capital.