In a series of Wall StreetTranscript interviews found on YahooFinance, we took note of some interesting comments regardingthe restaurant sector.We were especially intrigued by a portion ofan interview with KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Lynne Colliersaying that California Pizza Kitchen and Cheesecake Factory are twochains that private-equity firms could show interest in buying inthe coming year. "I think the M&A activity will pick up," sheis quoted as saying. "It depends on the credit markets, of course,but I expect to see more and more of this."Collierpoints out that both chains are trading well below their historicalvalues. Cheesecake was trading as low as $17.24 this week comparedto a 52-week high of $29.78. California Pizza had dropped to $9.32,compared with $25.23. However, not surprisingly, both stocks havegone up since the report's release.While it's not a restaurantchain, it looks like private-equity firm Catterton Partners isclose to grabbing Restoration Hardware for $179 million.Do you thinkthat private-equity firms will continue their fast pace ofacquiring restaurant and retail companies this year? Or will atough economy dissuade those outfits from making plays in theindustry?

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