UPDATE 1-Benihana considers strategic alternatives, sale
* Engages Jefferies as financial advisor
* Co had previously considered sale in July 2010
* Shares up 2 pct post mkt
March 13 (Reuters) - Japanese-style restaurant chain Benihana Inc said its board was exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale.
"The board ... believes it is in the best interests of shareholders for the board to consider strategic alternatives at this time," the company said in a statement.
Benihana said no decision has been made to engage in any transaction resulting from the board's exploration of strategic alternatives.
The Miami-based company, famous for its teppanyaki-style cuisine where chefs prepare food on a grill that is part of the table, runs the RA Sushi and Haru chains in addition to its namesake restaurants.
Benihana had considered a sale in July 2010 as unhappy shareholders threatened to seek board seats, but the company dropped the idea last year and said it will focus on improving traffic at its restaurants.
The company said it has engaged Jefferies & Co Inc as its financial advisor in connection with a possible sale.
Benihana's shares, which have gained more than 65 percent in value since touching a year-low $6.76 in August, jumped to $12.05 in after-market trade after closing at $11.85 on Tuesday on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Ranjita Ganesan & Chris Jonathan Peters in Bangalore;)
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