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Brinker to sell majority stake in Macaroni Grill

DALLAS Nearly a year after announcing it intended to sell the 200-unit Romano’s Macaroni Grill chain, Brinker International Inc. on Monday said it had agreed to spin off a majority interest in the concept to Mac Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of the San Francisco private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital, for $131.5 million in cash.

Brinker, the parent to the Chili’s Grill & Bar chain, said it would retain a 19.9-percent interest in the new company and would provide corporate support services for a full year and have a seat on its board. Of the $131.5 million purchase price, Brinker is contributing $6 million back to Mac Acquisition. The deal is expected to close by year end.

Doug Brooks, Brinker’s chairman and chief executive, said, “Brinker International will retain a minority ownership position in order to both maximize the value to Brinker's shareholders and contribute to the success of Macaroni Grill as a stand-alone entity.”

The company said it would record an additional impairment charge, net of taxes, ranging from $42 million to $47 million for fiscal 2008.

Brinker previously had sought to sell the entire Macaroni Grill brand, but backed off that plan earlier this year.

Brinker owns or franchises more than 1,800 casual-dining restaurants in 24 nations. Its other brands include On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and Maggiano’s Little Italy.

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