Sentinel Capital Partners to acquire TGI Fridays

The following message, from Trudy Rautio, president and chief executive officer, Carlson, was distributed globally today to Carlson employees:

Today is an important day in our company’s history.

As you know, we have been conducting a review of strategic alternatives for the TGI Fridays business. As a result of that process, we have entered into a definitive agreement to sell TGI Fridays to Sentinel Capital Partners and Tri-Artisan Capital (Sentinel’s co-investment firm). Sentinel, headquartered in New York City, is one of the nation’s leading private equity firms with specialized experience in the restaurant industry and in franchising. We expect the acquisition to close no later than July of this year, and that TGI Fridays’ strong management team will remain in place and continue to work from Carrollton, Texas.

From the 12 restaurants we acquired in 1975, to the more than 900 restaurants delighting customers in more than 60 countries today, TGI Fridays has become a brand loved around the world. We care deeply about TGI Fridays, and believe that in Sentinel and Tri-Artisan we have found an ideal fit for strong values, storied history and continued growth of TGI Fridays. 

For Carlson, this transaction is a step forward in our evolution as a major hospitality and travel company, and reflects our efforts to focus on our portfolio of businesses and invest in their growth. From the roots Curt Carlson planted in loyalty marketing more than 50 years ago, we have grown successful, global hotel and travel businesses that comprise the core of who we are today and how we will succeed tomorrow. There are significant growth opportunities for us around the world, and this transaction provides the resources we will use to seize them. While we will miss having TGI Fridays as part of the Carlson family, I am confident this transaction helps best position Carlson for great success in the future.

On behalf of all of us at Carlson, I want to thank Nick Shepherd, his leadership team, and all of the employees of TGI Fridays for everything they have contributed to Carlson. TGI Fridays’ service heart and caring spirit will forever be a part of Carlson’s lasting legacy, and we look forward to watching its future success unfold. 

May 20, 2014
Photo caption:
This transaction is a step forward in Carlson’s evolution as a major hospitality and travel company, and reflects the company’s efforts to focus on its portfolio of businesses and invest in their growth.