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CKE to Sell Taco Bueno Unit for $72.5 Million

March 15, 2001|Leslie Earnest

CKE Restaurants Inc., in an ongoing attempt to reduce debt, said it will sell its Taco Bueno unit for $72.5 million to Jacobson Partners, a closely held New York investment firm. Anaheim-based CKE, which also operates Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast-food hamburger chains, said proceeds from the cash sale should shave its debt, which once stood at a whopping $300 million, to less than $100 million. The sale of the Taco Bueno chain, which is expected to be completed in May, is CKE's latest move to unload assets and reduce its debt load. Taco Bueno operates 125 restaurants in Texas and Oklahoma. "With our focus on the Hardee's turnaround and debt reduction, we believe the sale of Taco Bueno at this time serves its interests as well as CKE's," Chief Executive Andrew F. Puzder said. CKE's stock closed at $3.02, down 10 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange. CKE operates more than 3,700 quick-service restaurants. It's been struggling with sagging sales and mounting debt as a result of its 1997 attempt to absorb the Hardee's chain.

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