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CKE to be sold to Apollo

CARPINTERIA, Calif. CKE Restaurants Inc., parent of Hardee's and Carl's Jr., said it has accepted a buyout deal valued at $1 billion from an affiliate of Apollo Global Management.

The deal with Columbia Lake Acquisition Holdings Inc., which includes a cash offer of $12.55 a share and the refinancing of CKE 's debt, is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2011, the companies said in a statement Monday morning.

CKE said it had terminated an earlier acquisition agreement from another private-equity firm, Thomas H. Lee Partners, for $11.05 per share, or about $615 million in cash. THL's offer also included the assumption of $309 million in debt.

In Monday trading, CKE's stock price (CKR) declined 3.7 percent to close at $12.38.

"This is a very exciting and positive development for the company, its shareholders, franchisees and employees," said Andrew F. Puzder, CKE's chief executive. "The Apollo transaction provides substantial added value for our shareholders... Our franchisees and employees will also benefit from Apollo’s retail sector experience and widely acknowledged financial expertise."

Peter P. Copses, a senior partner at Apollo, said the firm looks forward to "working with [CKE's] outstanding management team, employees and franchisees to continue to build the company’s market-leading brands."

The deal with Apollo is contingent on regulatory approval and a vote by CKE shareholders. CKE said affiliates of Morgan Stanley, Citi and RBC Capital Markets are providing $700 million in financing for the deal.

Carpinteria-based CKE operates or franchises 1,224 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,905 Hardee's locations.


Contact Molly Gise at [email protected].

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