Fast-food chain Del Taco explores sale

Target: Del Taco

Price: More than $500 million

Sponsors: Charlesbank Capital Partners, Leonard Green & Partners, Goldman Sachs Mezzanine Partners

Founded in 1964, Lake Forest, California-based Del Taco owns and operates 546 restaurants in 17 U.S. states, sister news service Reuters reported. The majority of them are in West Coast states including California and Oregon.

Goldman Sachs Mezzanine Partners led a new equity infusion into privately held Del Taco in 2010, with existing investors Charlesbank Capital Partners and Leonard Green & Partners also contributing new capital to the recapitalization.

Del Taco also refinanced its debt in April in a $260 million deal led by GE Capital.

All the sources requested anonymity because the matter is not public. Representatives of Del Taco, Goldman Sachs and Leonard Green did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Charlesbank declined to comment.

Del Taco offers made-to-order Mexican items such as tacos, burritos and quesadillas as well as American classics including burgers, fries and shakes.

The company is one of a number of restaurant chains trying to sell themselves or go public as market valuations for the sector continue to hold strong. In May, Darden Restaurants Inc agreed to sell its Red Lobster seafood chain to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital LLC for $2.1 billion.

Carlson Restaurants Inc agreed to sell its TGI Fridays casual dining chain to private equity firms Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners in May for more than $800 million.

Recent public offerings from restaurant chains have included Zoe’s Kitchen Inc, Potbelly Corp and Papa Murphy’s Holdings Inc.

Soyoung Kim and Olivia Oran are correspondents for Reuters in New York.