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DineEquity Sells off 56 Applebee's to Pair of Franchisees

DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE:DIN), parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP Restaurants, reached an agreement to sell 56 company-operated Applebee's restaurants to a pair of franchisees. Mid River Restaurants LLC will purchase 36 Applebee's restaurants located in St. Louis, Mo., and parts of Illinois. Apple Investors Group LLC has agreed to buy 20 Applebee's restaurants located in the Roanoke and Lynchburg markets in the state of Virginia.

"This transaction reflects another step toward our strategic goal of transitioning Applebee's into a more highly franchised restaurant system over time," said Julia Stewart, DineEquity's chairman and chief executive officer.

Both agreements do not contain financing contingencies, but closing is subject to regulatory processes related to liquor license transfers and other customary conditions, according to a statement released by Applebee's. The company expects the transactions to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Earlier this year, DineEquity announced the sale of 63 company-operated Applebee's restaurants in Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin. To date, DineEquity has sold a total of 110 Applebee's company-operated restaurants in five states since its acquisition of Applebee's International in November 2007. The deals with Apple Investors and Mid River Restaurants are expected to produce gross cash proceeds of $41 million combined.