CKE attracts interest from second buyer

by Keith Nunes
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CARPINETERIA, CALIF. — CKE Restaurants, Inc. announced it has received an alternative takeover proposal to the one offered in February by Thomas H. Lee Partners L.P. The restaurant chain declined to name the second interested party.

CKE said its board had not changed its recommendation with respect to the pending merger with Thomas H. Lee Partners, but that it would continue discussions with the prospective buyer and furnish it with information until April 27.

Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners agreed to acquire CKE Restaurants, Inc. for approximately $928 million, including the assumption of about $309 million in debt. CKE Restaurants has a total of 3,147 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and 14 countries, including 1,221 Carl’s Jr. restaurants and 1,913 Hardee’s restaurants.

As part of the transaction, CKE shareholders would receive $11.05 in cash for each share of CKE common stock they own, representing a 24% premium to the company’s closing price of $8.91 on Feb. 25.

CKE said the new interested buyer did not have evidence of committed financing and there was no guarantee that any takeover proposal that may be put forth would be judged by the company as a superior proposal.

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