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CKE Gets Higher Acquisition Offer from Western Acquisition

(Reuters) – CKE Restaurants Inc (CKR.N) said it received a superior proposal of $12.55 per share in cash from Western Acquisition Holdings and said it will terminate a previous merger agreement with private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners.

CKE, owner of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. hamburger chains, received the new proposal on April 18, 2010, it said in a statement early on Tuesday.

The new offer trumps a $11.05 per share, or $619 million in cash, offer from THL Partners that the company had agreed to on April 5.

Following the THL offer, Porter Orlin, a New York-based investment manager holding almost 2.3 million shares in CKE, had expressed strong dissatisfaction with THL Partners’ plan to take the company private and said the $11.05 per share offer substantially undervalued the business. [ID:nN06250006]

Private equity firms have shown interest in quick service restaurants in recent months. Earlier this month, privately held Papa Murphy’s, known for its take ‘n’ bake pizzas, said it was being bought by private equity firm Lee Equity Partners for an undisclosed amount.

Shares of Carpinteria, California-based CKE closed at $11.99 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Shrutika Verma in Bangalore; Editing by David Holmes)