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Longtime Owner Sells TGI Fridays for $800 Million

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TGI Fridays derives its name from the expression, "Thank Goodness It's Friday." Today, the restaurant's owner can say, "Thank Goodness It's Sold."

After 40 years of ownership, hospitality and travel company Carlson announced Tuesday that it has agreed to sell the restaurant chain to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners. The company put TGI Fridays up for sale last November, and expects the transaction to close by July 2014

While an official price hasn't yet been released, The Wall Street Journal reports that Carlson values Fridays at more than $800 million, including debt, citing a person familiar with the matter. 

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"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 CEO Trudy Rautio said in a statement

Carlson's best known brand is the Radisson hotel chain. The company has more than 1,340 hotels in operation and development.

While TGI Fridays was Carlson's lone restaurant chain, its new owners are no strangers to restaurant franchises. Sentinel's portfolio includes major Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Church's Chicken franchisees and the Checkers Drive-In Restaurants and Tony Roma's franchisors. And, TriArtisan was in franchising news last year after reports that the private-equity firm lost an auction to buy the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. 

Related: The Top Franchise in Every Industry

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