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Darden closes $2.1B sale of Red Lobster

The sale of the casual-dining granddaddy was closed today for $2.1 billion.

It’s official — Red Lobster has a new parent.

Darden Restaurants Inc. on July 28 announced it completed its sale of its 45-year-old Red Lobster business and related assets and liabilities to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion in cash.

Orlando-based Darden (NYSE: DRI) previously announced it plans to use about $1 billion in net cash proceeds to retire outstanding debt, with another $500 million-$600 million going toward a new share repurchase program of up to $700 million in its fiscal year 2015.

“We are pleased to have completed the sale of Red Lobster as planned,” said Clarence Otis, Darden chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement. “The completion of this transaction marks an important milestone in the actions we are taking to improve our operations, reduce costs, and focus on opportunities with the highest value-creating potential. While we still have work to do, we are making progress in our efforts to enhance performance and shareholder value.”

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