CHICAGO - Thomas H. Lee Partners said yesterday it will buy the owner of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants for about $619 million in cash.
The Boston private equity firm, which is among a trio of investment firms that bought Dunkin’ Brands Inc. in 2006, has made the deal to buy CKE Restaurants Inc. when the fast-food chains’ sales are falling and fewer diners are visiting their restaurants.
Thomas H. Lee Partners also will assume about $309 million in debt from CKE. CKE shareholders will receive $11.05 in cash for each share they own - a 24 percent premium to its Thursday closing price of $8.91.
CKE, based in Carpinteria, Calif., can seek other offers until April 6. The company won’t disclose information related to talks with potential buyers, unless its board decides a superior bid has been received.