Apple Investors Group to buy 17 company-owned Applebee's restaurants from parent company DineEquity; deal expected to be for around US$15.9M, should close in Q1 2012

GLENDALE, California , October 14, 2011 () – DineEquity Inc., the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants, said Thursday that it is selling 17 company-owned Applebee's restaurants to Apple Investors Group LLC.

Apple Investors Group currently operates 27 Applebee's restaurants and 18 IHOP restaurants. Thursday's sale includes restaurants located in Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky and Arkansas. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.

DineEquity anticipates collecting $15.9 million in proceeds, which it will use the bulk off to pay down some financial obligations.

It's the latest sale by DineEquity as it attempts to move its business to a primarily franchised-restaurant model. It is its third deal with Apple Investors Group.

DineEquity has sold a total of 259 Applebee's company-operated restaurants since its acquisition of Applebee's International in November 2007. The company also expects to sell an additional 66 Applebee's company-operated restaurants in New England under a pending deal.

After these pending deals are complete, 95 percent of DineEquity's restaurants will be franchised.

DineEquity is making the move towards a franchise-heavy model as it requires less capital and the cash flow is less volatile than operating a restaurant itself.

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