UPDATE 2-Applebee's parent profit beats Street; shares jump

Tue May 1, 2012 3:22pm EDT

* Q1 adj EPS $1.36 vs Street view $1.26

* Strikes deal to sell 39 Applebee's restaurants

* Shares up almost 9 percent

May 1 (Reuters) - Applebee's and IHOP restaurant parent DineEquity Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and said it had struck a deal to sell 39 company-owned Applebee's restaurants in Virginia, sending its shares up almost 9 percent.

The results from DineEquity landed on a day when news of investments in the restaurant sector overshadowed a mixed bag of quarterly results from a handful of large operators.

In particular, shares of P.F. Chang's China Bistro soared 30 percent after it announced plans to sell itself to Centerbridge Partners, a private equity firm, for $1.1 billion.

P.F. Chang's also reported a quarterly profit that missed analysts' target after sales at established Bistro and Pei Wei restaurants fell due to fewer guest visits.

At DineEquity, first-quarter net income rose 6.5 percent to $29.9 million, or $1.64 per share. Excluding one-time items, profit was $1.36 per share, handily topping analysts' average estimate of $1.26, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Systemwide sales at established U.S. restaurants were up 1.2 percent at Applebee's but fell 0.5 percent at IHOP on traffic declines.

Shares of DineEquity jumped 8.7 percent to $52.79 in afternoon trading.

Janney Capital Markets analyst Mark Kalinowski, in a client note, attributed the stock move to Potomac Family Dining Group's plan to buy the 39 Applebee's restaurants in a deal expected to result in after-tax proceeds of $25 million for DineEquity.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Domino's Pizza Inc shares fell 6.7 percent to $34.29 after it delivered quarterly profit that missed Wall Street's view, due in part to softer-than-expected sales at established U.S. restaurants.

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