Cost of being acquired eats into Pizza Hut franchisee's profits

OVERLAND PARK Kan. Despite a 5.4 percent revenue increase driven by new restaurant acquisitions and increased same-store sales, NPC International Inc., the operator of 873 franchised Pizza Hut units, reported a 97-percent drop in fourth-quarter profit, mainly because of increased interest expenses and other costs related to its May 2006 acquisition by Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity.

For the quarter ended Dec. 26, NPC earned $395,000, compared with a

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