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Reports fly about possible buyers of GE Capital

Companies ranging from Wells Fargo to Chuck E. Cheese’s owner Apollo Global Management were identified in various media reports yesterday as possible buyers negotiating to buy all or part of GE Capital, one of the restaurant industry’s largest landlords.

General Electric Corp., the current owner, has acknowledged plans to sell but has not revealed the possible suitors. The value of the GE assets on the block are estimated at $200 billion.

Among the suitors named in yesterday’s news reports were Wells Fargo, Blackstone Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Apollo, a former owner of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Most of the reports cited unnamed inside sources.

GE Capital is involved in several forms of commercial finance. It is a major owner of restaurant real estate through its sale-and-leaseback of franchised restaurants. Owner-operators often sell their real estate to GE Capital and lease back the properties. The cash freed through the sale of the site can then be used to open more stores.

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