McD's to sell Boston Market to Sun Capital

OAK BROOK Ill. McDonald's Corp. said it has agreed to sell the 630-unit Boston Market fast-casual chain to the private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners, parent of such restaurant brands as Fazoli's, Chevys, El Torito and Bruegger's. Terms were not disclosed.

McDonald’s acquired Golden, Colo.-based Boston Market in 2000 for $173.5 million. Executives indicated at the time that they initially were interested in acquiring the chain for its real estate, with an eye toward converting the sites to McDonald's locations. But the company decided to keep the brand intact as part of a diversification push that also made it an owner or stakeholder of Donatos, Chipotle, Fazoli's and the Aroma coffee chain. With the sale of Boston Market, the quick-service giant will have divested all of those ancillary businesses except Pret a Manger, one-third of which is still owned by McDonald's. Executives of the London-based Pret have said they are negotiating with several private-equity firms that are interested in buying the grab-and-go brand.

Boston Market, which once termed its market "home-meal replacement," offers platters and sandwiches featuring roasted chicken, turkey breast and ham. The chain has struggled in recent years, with U.S. systemwide sales for 2006 declining about 4.2 percent to $680 million as Boston Market ended the year with 11 fewer restaurants than at the end of 2005, according to Nation’s Restaurant News research. It presently operates in 28 states.

McDonald’s spokesman Walt Riker declined to discuss details until the transaction is completed.

Sun Capital, with offices in Boca Raton, Fla. , Los Angeles and New York, is a diversified investment company with affiliates in London, Tokyo and Shenzhen.