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Darden to sell Red Lobster for $2.1 billion

Darden Restaurants said Friday it agreed to sell Red Lobster and related real estate assets to investment firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion, shedding its worst performing chain to pay off some company debt.

In the cash deal, Darden will receive net cash proceeds, after tax and transaction costs, of about $1.6 billion. The Orlando-based restaurant company plans to use $1 billion to pay off debt and use the rest to buy back shares.

Darden has been seeking to sell the seafood restaurant chain for months to ease its debt levels and also reached out to real estate buyers to facilitate sale-leaseback financing for the purchase of the business.

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