TIME Companies

Darden Restaurants Selling Red Lobster for $2.1 Billion

Olive Garden and Red Lobster Locations Ahead of Darden Restaurants Inc. Earning Figures
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Golden Gate Capital will purchase the seafood chain from its current owner

Darden Restaurants announced the sale of its Red Lobster business for $2.1 billion on Friday. San Francisco based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital will purchase of the popular seafood franchise and related assets. The bulk of the sale’s proceeds will be used to settle outstanding debt.

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a highly competitive process designed to maximize the value of the Red Lobster business and better position Darden for success,” said lead director of Darden’s board Chuck Ledsinger in a statement.

According to the announcement, the purchase price is nine times Red Lobster’s 12-month earnings ending on April 27. The sale is expected to close in early 2015 and provide the company with $1.6 billion in cash. About $1 billion will be used to retire debt, the remaining funds will be used to repurchase shares.

The company has been mulling either the sale or spin-off of its Red Lobster brand due to the chain’s inability to move up-market. On a December conference call with shareholders, Darden CEO Clarence Otis announced the pending sale of Red Lobster as part of an effort to increase the company’s value.

Golden Gate Capital has stakes in California Pizza Kitchen, Payless ShoeSource, and Express clothing stores.


TIME Kenya

Kenyan Red Cross: Nairobi Blasts Injure At Least 10

The explosions occurred near a popular market in the country's capital as British vacationers were being evacuated due to high terror threat from Al Shabaab extremist group

Explosions in Nairobi injured as many as 10 people on Friday, the Kenya Red Cross said, as European tourists were being evacuated from Kenya due to a high terror threat. At least four people were killed in the twin blasts, the Associated Press reports.

The Kenyan National Disaster Operations Center tweeted that the explosions occurred near a popular Nairobi market.

No group has yet taken responsibility for the bombings, although Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a vague statement about “terrorism” after the blasts.

“Many countries are faced with this particular problem (terrorism). All of us must be united to ensure that we fight it,” reads the statement, posted by the International Business Times. “We will do what we can as a government. We in Kenya, are committed to this fight and we urge Kenyans to work with us.”

Friday’s attack happened as British tourists in the country were being urged to leave due to a high terror threat from Somali extremist group al-Shabab, particularly along the Kenya-Somali border and in areas in Nairobi.


Pinterest Valued at $5 Billion

The logo of mobile app "Pinterest" is displayed on a tablet on Jan. 2, 2014 in Paris. Lionel Bonaventure—AFP/Getty Images

A new round of funding just increased the value of the four-year-old virtual scrapbooking site, which lets people 'pin' pictures and notes to virtual 'boards' in 31 countries, by more than 30 percent since last October when it had received a $3.8 billion valuation

Pinterest announced Thursday that it has secured $200 million in financing, boosting its value to $5 billion.

To date, the virtual scrapbooking site has raised $764 million. The 4-year-old company, which lets people pin pictures and notes to boards in 31 countries, had previously received a $3.8 billion valuation following its last round in October. According to a statement released by the company, the new funds came from existing investors SV Angel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Fidelity, Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital and Valiant Capital Partners.

The site will use the funds to continue developing its recently launched paid advertising and expand its business. “Pinterest has a vision of solving discovery and helping everyone find things they’ll love. This new investment gives us additional resources to realize our vision,” said CEO Ben Silbermann.

TIME Crime

Florida Mom Convicted of Murdering Her 2 Teenage Kids

Julie Schenecker Convicted Murder
With the jury in deliberations, Julie Schenecker is escorted from Judge Emmett Lamar Battles' courtroom on May 15, 2014 in Tampa. Daniel Wallace—Zuma Press

Julie Schenecker of Tampa will face a mandatory life sentence without the possibility for parole for killing her teens in 2011.

A Florida woman was convicted Thursday of two counts of first-degree murder for killing her two teenaged kids. Jurors rejected an insanity plea for Julie Schenecker, a former Army linguist from Tampa who shot her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son in 2011.

Schenecker will face a mandatory life sentence. She will not be eligible for parole.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours on Thursday, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Schenecker’s attorney’s argued that she was medicated and suffering from depression and bipolar disorder at the time of the killings. The prosecutor, however, said she deliberately drove 27 miles to purchase the gun she eventually used to kill her children. On Thursday, a jury of her peers agreed with the prosecution.

Following the conviction, a visibly distraught Schenecker addressed the court. “Your honor I’m prepared and I accept your sentence,” she said through tears, before taking responsibility for shooting her teens, Calyx and Beau. “I apologize. I apologize to every in this courtroom.”

“I know our children are in heaven,” she said. “I want people to try to find comfort in believing as I do that they are in no pain and they are alive and enjoying everything and anything heaven has to offer.”


Glenn Close Comes Back to Broadway in A Delicate Balance

Glenn Close
Glenn Close poses for a portrait at The Collective and Gibson Lounge Powered by CEG, during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Jan. 20, 2014. Victoria Will—Invision/AP

In November, the Tony-winning actress will star alongside John Lithgow and Martha Plimpton in an upcoming revival of Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize winning drama, A Delicate Balance, scheduled to run 18 weeks at the Golden Theatre

It’s been 20 years since Glenn Close has performed on Broadway, but the Tony-award winning actress is making a comeback this fall. Close is set to star in a revival of A Delicate Balance, which first premiered on Broadway in 1966.

Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama will officially open on Nov. 20, according to the Hollywood Reporter, though preview performances begin in October. Pam MacKinnon, who won a Tony Award for another Albee play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, will direct the play, which also stars John Lithgow and Martha Plimpton.

Close, who was a stage actress before moving to the big screen — her first feature film was 1982’s The World According to Garp — already has three Tonys to her name, including one in 1995 for her role as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.

The revival is set to run for 18 weeks at the Golden Theatre.

[Hollywood Reporter]


Report: Uber Nearing $10B Valuation

The Uber driver app on the windshield of UberX driver Regan Rucker, indicates surge pricing during peak ridership on April 4, 2014 in Washington. Evelyn Hockstein—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Bloomberg reports the company is in talks with investors that could triple the ride-share company's value if secured

Car service Uber is reportedly considering new rounds of financing that could value the start up at over $10 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Citing unnamed industry sources “close to the situation,” Bloomberg says the San Francisco company’s value—currently $3.5 billion— could triple if it secures investments from private equity firms.

The $10 billion valuation would align Uber with another sharing-economy giant, Airbnb, which was valued at $10 billion recently.

Uber did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment on the report.


TIME Syria

Abducted Relief Workers Released in Syria

Médecins Sans Frontières says five workers who were kidnapped in January have been released after spending months in captivity

The humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced Thursday that five staff members had been released from captivity in Syria. An armed group had abducted the aid workers from a MSF hospital in northern Syria in January. Three workers were reportedly released in April and the final two were released on Thursday.

“The relief of seeing our colleagues return safely is mixed with anger in the face of this cynical act that has cut off an already war-ravaged population from desperately needed assistance,” Médecins Sans Frontières International President Joanne Liu said in a statement.

Médecins Sans Frontières did not released the identities of the workers, but says all are safe and with families.

Also known as Doctors without Borders, MSF has been providing medical care in Syria since 2012. The country’s civil war began in 2011. Fighting between the government and rebel forces has killed more than 150,000 and displaced millions.

TIME Marriage

Arkansas Judge Strikes Down All Laws Banning Same Sex Marriage

Gay Marriage Arkansas
Brandon Armstrong, left, and Thomas Etheridge, right, both of Alexander, Ark. kiss and embrace after they were wed in the rotunda of the Pulaski County Courthouse in Little Rock, Ark. on May 12, 2014. Stephen B. Thornton—The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/AP

The Pulaski County Clerk tells TIME his office has already begun issuing licenses to same-sex couples in the wake of the judge's Thursday decision

The latest in an ongoing legal tug-of-war between the state and the state judiciary, an Arkansas judge ruled on Thursday that any state law banning same-sex marriage was void.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling came a day after the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected the state’s request to stay Judge Piazza’s May 9 ruling allowing same-sex marriage, but cited a different state law on the books that prohibited clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Piazza’s response was to strike down all laws that prevent same-sex couples from getting married.

Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane told TIME that Thursday’s decision was broad enough to cover all legislation that could affect same-sex marriage. His office is already issuing licenses to same-sex couples, he said.

“We’ve already had one couple come in,” Crane told TIME. “We don’t have a line yet, but it’s been less than an hour.”

TIME Economy

Dow Falls 1% Just Days After Record Peak

Analysts blame poor earnings from retailers and glum economic reports

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down on Thursday, marking the index’s second slump since last week’s record peaks and the worst day since early April.

The Dow suffered a steep fall on Thursday, dropping 1%, or 167.16 points, to end the day at 16446.81. S&P 500 had a similar fate, falling 17.68 points, or 0.94% to close at 1870.85. Lackluster earnings reports from retailers Wal-Mart and Kohl’s helped bring the Dow down, CNBC reports, as did disappointing outlooks from homebuilders, a decline in industrial production and higher consumer prices in April.

TIME Television

Neil Patrick Harris Had a Shot at the Late Show Hosting Gig

Neil Patrick Harris Late Show
Neil Patrick Harris attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Benefit on May 2, 2014 in New York City. Julian Mackler—BFAnyc/SIPA USA

The How I Met Your Mother star said that he was approached for the job by CBS, but declined because he thought he'd get bored of the repetitive format. The network also approached him about replacing Craig Ferguson, but he again declined

Neil Patrick Harris could have been the next host of the Late Show, but the actor told Howard Stern on Wednesday he didn’t want the gig.

During an appearance on the Howard Stern radio show, Harris said that while he and CBS executives never etched out a specific deal, the network approached him about taking over for David Letterman, who will retire in 2015. The How I Met Your Mother star said he wasn’t interested.

“In that instance I felt like I knew what my skill sets were,” Harris said. “I was surprised that he pitched me that idea, and I sort of sat for a minute with it and told him the things that concerned me about the longevity of that kind of gig… I think I would get bored of the repetition fast.”

Harris is instead toying with the idea of hosting a weekly variety show, something he said CBS execs might be interested in. When asked about taking over the 12:30 show, which Craig Ferguson will be leaving in December, Harris still said no.“It’s still nightly, you’re still coming out with the same content,” he said. “And now you’re just getting bitter that no one is watching.

Listen to the full interview here.

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