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Carlson buys remaining stake in U.K. Friday's

Carlson, a hospitality and travel company that is parent to Carlson Restaurants, has acquired the remaining 60-percent stake in T.G.I. Friday’s UK Holdings Ltd., which operates 46 locations, for $50 million.

The Minneapolis-based company said Thursday it purchased the stake from joint-venture partner and Northern European buyout firm AAC Capital Partners. The acquisition is part of Carlson’s strategy to invest more than $100 million to both acquire and grow the Friday's brand in the United Kingdom during the next five years, it said.

"As a global hospitality company, our objective is to continue to grow our core hotel and restaurant brands, and the T.G.I. Friday's UK acquisition is a tremendous opportunity to expand in an established market that is familiar with our brand," Hubert Joly, president, chief executive and director at Carlson, said in a statement. "We are confident that T.G.I. Friday's in the U.K. will continue to perform well for our company and our guests, and we believe the brand's strong momentum provides the potential for continued global expansion."

Carlson said it aims to expand Friday’s by at least 160 locations by 2015, to nearly 1,100 units in more than 60 countries. As of June, there were 928 T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants worldwide, including 588 in the United States and 340 in international markets.

"We are very pleased with the performance by our U.K. business operations," said Nick Shepherd, president and chief executive officer of Carlson Restaurants. "We believe in the strength of the T.G.I. Friday's brand, and are enthusiastic about our initiative to grow in the U.K. and in other key global markets."

Carrollton, Texas-based Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc. also operates the Pick Up Stix chain.

Contact Sarah E. Lockyer at [email protected].

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