Darden Restaurants and Golden Gate Capital announced that Golden Gate has completed the acquisition of the Red Lobster business and certain other related assets and assumed liabilities for approximately $2.1 billion in cash.

The sale of Red Lobster is the culmination of a robust competitive process that enabled Darden to maximize the value of Red Lobster, eliminate the risks and volatility associated with continuing to own the business, and provide a realistic market-validated valuation of Darden’s real estate assets. The sale is also consistent with Darden’s strategy of increasing its focus on its Olive Garden brand renaissance program and preserving its dividend.

Deutsche Bank Securities, GE Capital and Jefferies Finance provided debt commitments for the acquisition. Deutsche Bank Securities and Jefferies served as financial advisors to Golden Gate Capital in connection with the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel to Golden Gate Capital on the transaction.

Goldman Sachs served as Darden’s exclusive financial advisor on the sale of Red Lobster and also as financial advisor to Darden’s board of directors. Latham & Watkins served as legal counsel to Darden on the transaction. Morgan Stanley is serving as financial advisor working exclusively at the direction of Darden’s Board of Directors, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal advisor to Darden’s board of directors.

San Francisco, CA-based Golden Gate Capital is a private equity investment firm with over $12 billion of capital under management.

Orlando, FL-based Darden Restaurants, the world’s largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate approximately $6.3 billion in annual sales. Darden employs more than 150,000 people.