Darden to sell Red Lobster seafood chain for $2.1 billion

Reuters: Darden Restaurants Inc. said it has agreed to sell its Red Lobster seafood chain to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion in cash, defying pressure from an activist investor who opposed plans to shed the struggling chain. Darden said on Friday that it expects net cash proceeds of about $1.6 billion from the sale, of which about $1 billion would be used to retire debt.

 

Detroit creditors seek to defend pension debt in lawsuit

Bloomberg: A bond insurer wants the chance to fight Detroit's effort to cancel $1.4 billion in pension debt, while the city is asking a judge to take a bus tour of its blighted areas before ruling on its $18 billion bankruptcy plan. The insurer, Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., along with investors who would be wiped out by the plan, wants to take part in a lawsuit Detroit filed to cancel the debt, which was issued in 2005 and 2006 to prop up public worker pensions.

 

U.S. housing starts jump as building permits hit highest level since 2008

The New York Times: U.S. housing starts jumped in April and building permits hit their highest level in nearly six years, offering hope that the troubled housing market could be stabilizing. The Commerce Department said on Friday that groundbreaking increased 13.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.07 million units, the highest level since November 2013. All four regions of the country reported increases. Starts rose by a revised 2.0 percent in March, compared with a previously reported 2.8 percent gain for that month.