But the story does not end there. A group of shareholders, including private equity firms Starboard Value and Barington Capital Group, have objected to the sale both because they believe the price is too low and because stockholders get no say in the transaction. Barington has called the deal a "fire sale." Starboard questioned the impact of the sale on Red Lobster's real estate holdings, although Darden executives say a sale-and-leaseback deal with American Realty Capital Properties allows Darden to realized value from the real estate.
Now Darden can focus on enticing more traffic to its Olive Garden stores. Why the company believes that can be successful is anyone's guess.
Darden shares closed down 4.34% Friday, at $48.49 in a 52-week range of $44.78 to $55.25.