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ANAHEIM, CA-Locally based CKE Restaurants Inc. has sold its Taco Bueno fast-food chain for more than $72 million and will use the revenue to pay down debt.

The transaction involves 125 Taco Bueno restaurants, which have been acquired by an affiliate of Jacobson Partners, a private equity buyout firm. Praetorian Group acted as intermediaries in the sale, assisting in negotiation, financing and closing. CKE had purchased the Carrollton, TX-based chain in October 1996 and is selling it as part of a long-term strategy to reduce debt.

CKE has slowly been shedding its assets since November 1999, in order to raise cash to pay off its debts. “That strategy, although it has resulted in substantial losses for financial reporting purposes, is necessary to position the company for future profitable operations,” says Andrew F. Puzder, CKE’s president and CEO. The company has reduced its debt from a high of almost $300 million in fiscal 2000 down to $106 million today, according to Puzder. The recent sale will allow CKE to reduce its debt by another $60 million, he says.

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