Carlson sells TGI Fridays to concentrate on hotels, travel

Restaurant chain TGI Fridays has a new owner after long-time owner Carlson sold it to private-equity firms Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners for a reported more than $800 million, including debt. The deal is expected to be completed by July.

Carlson acquired TGI Fridays back in 1975. The sale will allow Carlson to concentrate on its core business: hotels and travel.

"For Carlson, this transaction frees up resources that the company can deploy to focus on and accelerate the growth of its hotel and travel businesses, at a time when significant opportunities exist in these markets," Carlson president and CEO Trudy Rautio said in a statement.

Carlson owns a majority stake in travel-management firm Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and has more than 1,300 hotels in operation and development. Brands include Radisson and Country Inns and Suites.

Sentinel, which will be Fridays's majority shareholder, has been busy this year. Earlier in 2014, the firm acquired Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc., which operates Checker's and Rally's hamburger chains as well as Newk's Holding Company LLC, the parent company of the Newk's Eatery franchise, reports The Wall Street Journal.