Darden announces sale of Red Lobster to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1B Darden announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Red Lobster business and certain other related assets and assumed liabilities to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1B in cash. Darden expects to receive net cash proceeds, after tax and transaction costs, of approximately $1.6B, of which approximately $1B will be used to retire outstanding debt. The remaining net proceeds of approximately $500M-$600M will be deployed for a new share repurchase program of up to $700M in fiscal 2015. Darden expects to maintain its current quarterly dividend of 55c per share, or $2.20 annually. The company said it and its advisors directly contacted a broad universe of potential financial and strategic buyers to purchase the Red Lobster business. In addition, the company said a significant number of real estate buyers were also contacted to facilitate attractive sale-leaseback financing for the purchase of the Red Lobster business.
Opco reiterates Darden as a top idea after CEO news Oppenheimer reiterates Darden as a top idea after the company removed the temporary status of CEO Gene Lee. Opco views the development as an incremental positive and reiterates an Outperform rating on the name.