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BOCA RATON, FL-Private-investment firm Sun Capital Partners has completed the acquisition of Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill from Darden Restaurants. Orlando-based Darden agreed to sell the chain to Sun Capital affiliate Barbeque Inc. in December for $80 million, to focus on expanding other concepts. Sun Capital’s restaurant portfolio includes Boston Market, Bruegger’s Enterprises, Fazoli’s Restaurants, Garden Fresh and Souper Salad.

“We are delighted to add Smokey Bones to our growing portfolio of restaurant affiliates,” said Anthony G. Polazzi, vp of Sun Capital Partners, in a press release. “We are looking forward to working with Smokey Bones’ management team and its dedicated associates in improving the existing restaurant base and positioning the company for future growth.”

In May 2007, Darden announced plans to sell the chain, as well as closing 56 restaurants, saying they had lagged behind the performance of its other chains, including Red Lobster.

“I am very pleased to partner with Sun Capital Partners, a financial sponsor with deep operating experience in the restaurant industry. As a stand-alone entity, Smokey Bones will be able to pursue its own strategic objectives and focus on expanding its network of stores, while maintaining superlative customer service, and adding new flavorful menu offerings. Our goal is to become the best barbeque experience around,” said Ian Baines, Smokey Bones president and CEO, in the same release.

Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill has 73 locations across the Eastern and Midwestern United States.

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