1. Darden Restaurants to Break Off its Real Estate in REIT Deal

    Darden Restaurants to Break Off its Real Estate in REIT Deal

    Darden Restaurants Inc., whose entire board was replaced last year in a proxy fight, will split off about 430 properties and transfer them to a real estate investment trust, following through on a promise made by its new bosses. The REIT, which will be publicly traded, will lease back the properties to Darden, according to a statement on Tuesday. Darden, the owner of Olive Garden and other casual-dining chains, also is selling about 75 individual restaurants under separate deals...

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    1. While a significant amount of work remains in order to proceed with the REIT transaction, we believe this plan will result in a more optimized capital structure and will create long-term shareholder value.
    2. Margins and store level profitability were quite a bit better.
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