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updated - July 21, 2019 Sunday EDT

Darden to Sell Red Lobster for $2.1 Billion: Report

May 16, 2014 12:03 PM EDT | By Staff Reporter
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Darden Restaurant Inc. has agreed to sell its Red Lobster seafood restaurant chain to San Francisco private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion, following the warnings of some of its shareholders.

The announcement came despite objections from some shareholders to the plan separate Red Lobster, which was announced late last year.

The sale will allow the company to focus on its remaining brands, particularly its core Olive Garden chain.

Red Lobster will join a $12-billion portfolio at Golden Gate that includes such major consumer names as California Pizza Kitchen, Eddie Bauer, Pacific Sunwear and Payless Shoe Source.

"By enabling us to bolster the company's financial foundation and increase our focus on the Olive Garden brand renaissance program, we believe this agreement addresses key issues that our shareholders have raised, including the need to preserve the company's dividend and regain momentum at Olive Garden," Clarence Otis, Darden's chief executive, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Golden Gate has extensive experience in the restaurant industry, with holdings like California Pizza Kitchen.

The deal, which Darden's board unanimously approved, is set to close in the first quarter of 2015 and, while subject to regulatory approval, does not need to be cleared by shareholders.

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