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DALLAS-Brinker International Inc., disposing of its second brand this fiscal season, will hand off the Corner Bakery Cafe brand by year’s end to New York City-based CBC Restaurant Corp. According to SEC documents, Brinker will collect $70 million for a 92-unit portfolio consisting primarily of property and $61 million in equipment.

The deal originally was set to close by the end of June. Brinker estimates its pre-tax loss will be $3 million to $5 million, including allocations to finish under-construction units and selling costs.

Corner Bakery, founded in 1991, became part of the Brinker lineup in 1995. Three locations in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport are franchised and the corporate-owned balance is positioned in eight states and the District of Columbia.

The buyer is affiliated with Il Fornaio (America) Corp. and Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. LLC, a New York City-headquartered private equity firm. Banc of America Securities LLC was Brinker’s financial adviser.

A Brinker spokesman tells GlobeSt.com that the brand is “doing very, very well” despite market speculation. “We certainly believe Corner Bakery is a viable brand in the bakery cafe niche,” he says. “Going forward, it didn’t fit into the growth strategy for our portfolio.”

The spokesman says Brinker’s executive team is focused on adding units to its mainstay group: Chili’s Grill & Bar, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and Maggiano’s Little Italy. The Dallas-based restaurateur operates 1,597 units, of which 1,200 are Chili’s flagged. At last count, Romano’s units totaled 236; On The Border, 138; and Maggiano’s, 33.

The team plans to expand the four brands by 20% domestically to 2,900 restaurants and 85% globally to 5,000 units, according to SEC documents. By 2012, the projection is about 20% of the operating income will come from units abroad. “Achieving this international target may require equity positions in some new key markets in addition to franchise development,” Brinker’s team says in the report.

Brinker expects to pick up $31.5 million from unit sales this year, which include 14 Chili’s restaurants, all going to new franchisees, and the last nine Big Bowls. “The decision to dispose of Big Bowl was the result of research and testing of the brand’s competitive positioning,” according to SEC documents about the February sale.

Brinker reported earning $13 million in cash proceeds from real estate sales due to restaurant closings in this fiscal year and expects to pick up another $21 million next year. Brinker’s took a $12.6-million impairment from a decision to close one Corner Bakery commissary and 15 restaurants: Chili’s, 10; Macaroni Grill, three; and On the Border, two. The restaurateur also closed five Big Bowls earlier in the year.

In fiscal 2004, Brinker’s shut down 30 restaurants, incurring a $39.5-million charge. The shutdowns consisted of six Chili’s, five Macaroni Grills, six On The Border, six Corner Bakery Cafes and seven Big Bowls. Last year’s activity included the sale of the last Cozymel’s.

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