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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Darden, under pressure, will spin off or sell Red Lobster, (NYSE: DRI)

Darden Restaurants Inc said it would spin off or sell its struggling Red Lobster chain, bowing to pressure from hedge fund Barington Capital Group, and warned that earnings would fall more than expected this year due to weak demand.Barington had been pushing for Darden to split into two companies - one that operates its mature Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains and another for its growing brands such as LongHorn Steakhouse and Seasons 52.The hedge fund has also urged the company to explore creating a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) to "unlock the value" of its property holdings.Barington said those actions could push Darden's stock to between $71 and $80. The shares were down 6.3 percent to $49.58 in late-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. is a full service restaurant company. Shares of DRI fell by 5.9% or $-3.12/share to $49.80. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $44.11 and as high as $55.25. On average, 1921630 shares of DRI exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 7019219.