Investment groups Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners are buying TGI Fridays from Carlson, which has owned the franchise since 1975.

TGI Fridays, headquartered in New York, operates casual dining restaurants TGI Fridays, Fridays FrontRow Sports Grill and Fridays American Bar. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Carlson bought TGI Fridays when the chain, which now operates more than 900 restaurants in 60 countries, consisted of just 12 restaurants. Carlson is a Minnetonka, Minnesota-based travel and hospitality company. The deal was announced May 20.

Private equity firm Sentinel, which has a focus on dining chains, will be TGI Friday's majority shareholder. Sentinel's recent franchise acquisitions include the May purchase of Newk's Holdings Co. LLC, which operates 67 Newk's Eatery franchises, and March acquisition of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc.The New York firm closed a fund with $1.3 billion in commitments in August. 


TriArtisan Capital Partners is the investment arm of investment bank Morgan Joseph TriArtisan Group Inc.

The purchase comes as many buyers are looking to pick up franchises. In May, Golden Gate Capital announced a $2.1 billion deal for seafood dining chain Red Lobster. In April, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. (Nasdaq: RRGB) bought a group of franchised Red Robin restaurants for $40 million. 

For more, see "Finance Finesse: Debt Markets Nourish Restaurant M&A." 

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