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Buyout Finalized of CKE Restaurants of Carpinteria

CEO reiterates the company's intention to maintain its local headquarters

As expected, Carpinteria-based CKE Restaurants Inc., owner of the Carl’s Jr. brand, announced Monday that the company has finalized its billion-dollar acquisition by Columbia Lake Acquisition Holdings Inc.

Shareholders approved the deal June 30 with the affiliate of New York-based Apollo Management. Each share of the company will net $12.55 in cash. The transaction, including refinancing of the company’s debt, is valued at about $1 billion.

“We are proud to acquire such a well-run business that boasts two outstanding quick-service restaurant brands in Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s,” said Peter Copses, senior partner at Apollo. “We look forward to working with CKE’s excellent management team, and its dedicated employees and franchisees to continue to enhance the growth of the business.”

CKE Chief Executive Officer Andy Puzder owns more than 1.3 million shares of the company.

Company officials said CKE plans to maintain its Carpinteria headquarters, which has about 180 employees. The company also has offices in Anaheim, where founder Carl Karcher had his biggest success, and in St. Louis, where the Hardee’s burger chain is headquartered.

“Our management team, franchisees and employees are excited to be entering this new phase and look forward to working with Apollo as we continue to grow the company and bring our great-tasting premium-quality burgers to guests across the globe,” Puzder said in a written statement Monday. “As we said when we announced this deal several months ago, the CKE management team will stay in place and our day-to-day operations will remain the same.”

He added, “The Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s restaurant you ate at yesterday will be the same tomorrow — still serving the big delicious burgers we are known for. This is a great day for the entire CKE family, and we are eager to continue building upon our success with the team at Apollo.”

CKE has 3,146 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and in 16 countries, including 1,233 Carl’s Jr. and 1,901 Hardee’s restaurants.

Earlier, CKE dropped its tentative agreement with Thomas H. Lee Partners for a better offer from Apollo. CKE agreed to a buyout offer in February from the Boston-based private equity investment firm, which agreed to acquire CKE for $928 million, including the assumption of $309 million of net debt. Shareholders would have received $11.05 in cash per share in the proposed Thomas H. Lee deal.

Noozhawk contributor Ray Estrada can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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