Bankruptcy court approves Real Mex sale

<!--paging_filter--><p>Real Mex Restaurants Inc. has a new owner and is expected to emerge from bankruptcy soon.</p>
<p>A Delaware bankruptcy court judge on Friday approved the sale of the parent company to the El Torito, Acapulco and Chevys Fresh Mex chains to a group of noteholders that includes Tennenbaum Capital Partners, Z Capital Partners and J.P. Morgan Investment Management, under the entity RM Opco LLC.</p>
<p>The bid was worth about $129 million, including $49 million in cash and an $80 million credit bid, along with assumption of certain liabilities, according to court documents. Under terms of the deal, RM Opco was expected to hold an 85-percent stake in Real Mex once the deal is closed.</p>
<p>Majority owner Sun Capital Partners initially acquired a controlling interest in Real Mex in 2006 in a $359 million deal. Later, Sun Capital relinquished control for several years after a debt-for-equity swap, <a href="http://nrn.com/article/sun-capital-regains-controlling-interest-real-mex... to take control again in 2010</a>.</p>
<p>Real Mex filed for Chapter 11 restructuring in October, which it attributed to the company&rsquo;s high debt load, certain above-market rents and a weak economy, particularly in California, where most of the company&rsquo;s restaurants are located.</p>
<p><a href="http://nrn.com/article/noteholders-win-bid-acquire-real-mex">The RM Opco bid was approved by Real Mex&rsquo;s board earlier last week</a>, and the company said at the time that the sale would likely close within 30 days of court approval, allowing the company to exit Chapter 11 with a substantially improved balance sheet, a more profitable store base and a lower cost structure.</p>
<p>Real Mex operates about 141 restaurants under the El Torito, Acapulco and Chevys brands, as well as single-units Sinigual and Las Brisas, and the small regional concepts Who-Song &amp; Larry&rsquo;s, Casa Gallardo and El Paso Cantina. The Chevys chain also includes about 20 franchised locations.</p>
<p>The sale also included Real Mex Foods, a production facility and foodservice distributor.</p>
<p>Contact Lisa Jennings at <a href="mailto:lisa.jennings@penton.com">lisa.jennings@penton.com</a>.<br />
Follow her on Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/livetodineout">@livetodineout</a><br />
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