published Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Darden plans to spin off or sell Red Lobster chain

ORLANDO, Fla. — Darden Restaurants Inc. says it is looking to either spin off or sell Red Lobster, part of its plan to boost shareholder value.

The company, which also runs Olive Garden and other restaurants, said today that it is also suspending the opening of new Olive Garden locations and will limit the opening of new LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants.

Its shares fell 5 percent on premarket trading.

Restaurant chains such as Olive Garden and Red Lobster have suffered since the downturn, with people being more careful about their spending. People are also increasingly heading to chains such as Chipotle, where it tends to cost less and take less time than a sit-down meal at a restaurant.

Darden said it has decided it won't make any acquisitions of additional brands "for the foreseeable future."

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