Darden sells Red Lobster to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion
Orlando, Fla. — Darden Restaurants on Friday said it has reached an agreement to sell its struggling Red Lobster chain to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion.
"Red Lobster is exactly the type of company in which we seek to invest given its great brand profile and strong management team,” said Josh Olshansky, managing director at Golden Gate Capital. “We see significant opportunities for future growth by partnering with Kim Lopdrup and the management team to support the long-term success of Red Lobster."
Darden said it expects net cash proceeds of about $1.6 billion, of which about $1 billion would be used to retire debt. The remainder would be used to buy back up to $700 million of shares in fiscal 2015, according to Darden.
In December, Darden said it planned to spin off or sell the 705-restaurant Red Lobster division.
Blyth taps new financial chief
Blyth — a direct-to-consumer company and leading designer and marketer of candles and accessories for the home, as well as health, wellness and beauty products sold through the direct selling and direct marketing channels — has promoted Jane Casey to the role of CFO.
The company this week announced that VP, CFO Robert H. Barghaus plans to retire later this year after 13 years. Barghaus will remain active as the company’s CFO until Casey, an 18-year veteran with the company, assumes the role.
"Bob Barghaus has been a valued discussion partner to me and a key member of the executive leadership team over the past 13 years,” said founder and executive chairman Robert B. Goergen. “Furthermore, he has built a first class finance and accounting organization, developing the reporting, tax and treasury functions critical to supporting our complex organization. We appreciate his dedicated and loyal service and wish him well as he reduces his professional commitments to focus on his growing family responsibilities. Additionally, I have worked closely with Jane Casey and observed first-hand her demonstrated leadership in finance and administration and look forward to her becoming Blyth’s next CFO."
Robert B. Goergen, Jr., Blyth’s President and Chief Executive Officer added, "I am delighted that Jane has accepted the position as Blyth’s next Chief Financial Officer. She has successfully led multiple disciplines within our organization, including Treasury and Tax, and I am confident she will bring both her financial acumen and strategic thinking to this new role. In addition, I am very pleased that Bob has agreed to remain active until later this year to ensure a smooth transition. He has been incredibly helpful to me over the past six months as I assimilated the added responsibilities of being Blyth’s CEO and I foresee a seamless shifting of his duties to Jane."
"It has been a pleasure to work with such a dedicated and talented team of professionals at Blyth over the past 13 years,” added Barghaus. “I am proud of our many accomplishments as we transformed Blyth from a multi-channel to a direct-to-consumer company focused on the direct selling and direct marketing channels of distribution. However, growing family responsibilities have led me to determine that while I can continue to play an advisory role at Blyth, I cannot commit over the longer term to the day-to-day responsibilities of being its CFO."
Casey joined Blyth in 1996, holding a wide range of financial and administrative leadership roles, including overseeing treasury, tax, investor relations and human resources. Prior to joining Blyth, Casey spent 14 years with Merrill Lynch & Company, in its corporate controller’s office and its real estate-related subsidiaries.
The company also announced that Joseph T. Cirillo, Blyth’s VP, reporting and planning, will be named VP and controller and appointed its chief accounting officer. Cirillo joined Blyth in 1999, holding various financial reporting and planning positions.
Google Play Store accepting payments via PayPal
New York — Google announced that it will accept PayPal as a method of payment, in addition to credit cards, carrier billing, and gift cards, for its Play Store. The announcement came as a surprise in that PayPal is essentially a competitor to Google’s own Wallet service.
Customers in 12 countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Germany, can use their PayPal accounts to buy apps, games, music, and movies through the Google Play Store. The service, however, cannot be used to buy devices and accessories from the Play store — at least not yet.