Carpinteria-based CKE Restaurants, parent company of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast food restaurants, announced Feb. 26 that it is being sold to Boston-based private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners for $928 million. The deal, expected to close in the second quarter of 2010, will include the assumption of about $309 million of CKE debt.
CKE’s stockholders will receive $11.05 in cash for each share of common stock held — a 24 percent premium to the company’s closing share price of $8.91 on Feb 25.
However, under the agreement, CKE is free to look for better proposals until April 6.
Other tri-county-based firms have been making news on Wall Street in recent weeks. The CKE deal comes shortly after Santa Paula-based citrus giant Limoneira Co. announced it had filed papers to go public on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Santa Barbara-based Select Staffing, the largest private company in the Tri-Counties, also announced in mid-February that a going-public deal it had in the works at the end of 2009 had fallen through.
CKE is one of largest publicly traded companies in the Tri-Counties, with a market capitalization of more than $611 million. The firm has 3,147 restaurants across 42 states and in 14 countries.
“We believe this transaction provides excellent value to our shareholders and represents an exciting opportunity to continue the growth and development of CKE Restaurants in partnership with THL,” Andrew F. Puzder, CKE chief executive officer, said in a release.
“THL’s proven history of success as an investor and value-added partner to its portfolio companies, coupled with its deep financial expertise and experience in the consumer sector, will also benefit all of our stakeholders, including our franchisees and our employees.”
Todd Abbrecht, managing director of THL Partners, said his firm is “committed to making this great company even better, and to working together with the entire organization to provide an even stronger foundation for value creation, expansion and profitable growth.”
THL is one of the largest private equity growth buyout firms in the U.S., and has invested approximately $12 billion of equity capital into more than 100 companies since its inception in 1974.