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The Red Lobster, 2800 S. Green Bay Road, in Mount Pleasant is among the 521 restaurants Darden Restaurants Inc. sold to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital and a number of real estate groups for about $1.6 billion.

The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies Inc., which is based in Oak Brook, Ill., bought the restaurant for about $3.2 million. The restaurant opened in 2012. Darden used about $1 billion to payoff outstanding debt. The leftover $600 million is expected to pay for a new share repurchase program of up to $700 million in the fiscal year 2015.   Inland is among a number of real estate buyers Golden Gate used to conduct the sale-leaseback financing for the purchase of the Red Lobster business, according to a press release by Darden. “Today’s announcement isthe culmination of a highly competitive process designed to maximize the value of the Red Lobster business and betterposition Darden for success,” said ChuckLedsinger, lead director of Darden’s board of directors. “The structure of the agreement enables us to capture the value of Red Lobster andestablish a market validated valuation of its real estate, while also enabling us to avoid the risks associated with continuing tooperate the business in the current challenging environment.”Clarence Otis, Darden’s Chairman and chief executive officer, said in May that the sale of Red Lobster would allow Darden to strengthen its financial foundation and focus on the Olive Garden brand.Otis resigned his position in July. “We believe this agreement addresses key issues that our shareholders have raised, including the need to preserve the Company’s dividend and regain momentum at Olive Garden,” Otis said. “At the same time, it provides Red Lobster and its dedicated employees and leadership team with a partner who has a strong track record in the industry and is as equally dedicated to Red Lobster’s success.”

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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