TGI Fridays parent weighs sale of restaurant chain

Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:33pm EST

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(Reuters) - The parent company of TGI Fridays Restaurants said on Friday it is considering a potential sale of the casual bar-dining chain as part of a review of strategic alternatives.

The board of Carlson, a privately held U.S.-based hospitality and travel company, selected Piper Jaffray to serve as its financial adviser, the company said in a statement.

TGI Fridays had revenue of $2.7 billion last year. It operates more than 900 restaurants, including more than 500 in the United States and the rest in roughly 60 other countries, and employs about 74,000 people.

"For the past several years, Carlson has invested heavily in the business to refresh the brand, coupled with aggressive actions within the corporate structure to contain costs," Nick Shepherd, chief executive of Fridays, said in a statement.

TGI Fridays, which opened its first establishment in 1965 in New York, claims to have originated the term "happy hour," in which patrons gather after work for food and drink specials, and to have created the Long Island Iced Tea drink.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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