Restaurant operator Dunkin' Brands is to be sold to a consortium of private equity buyers made up of Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group and Thomas H Lee Partners for a purchase price of US$2.425bn, its current owner Pernod Ricard has announced.

The Dunkin' Brands quick service restaurant business was acquired by Pernod Ricard as part of the takeover of Allied Domecq plc which closed on 26 July. The sale of Dunkin' Brands is in line with the group's policy of focusing on its core wine and spirits business.

Dunkin' Brands, based in Canton, Massachusetts, USA, is responsible for the worldwide development, marketing and franchising of the quick service restaurant brands Dunkin' Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Togo's.

Closing of the transaction is expected to take place during the first quarter of 2006, once certain regulatory authorisations have been obtained. Pernod Ricard will use the net proceeds (after tax and transaction costs) of around US$1.7bn from this sale to reduce its current debt levels.

"The sale of Dunkin' Brands, within our expected timetable, is excellent news for Pernod Ricard as it allows us to accelerate the reduction of our debt," said Patrick Ricard. "It follows the sale of our minority stake in Britvic as announced last Friday. It is also good news for Dunkin' Brands' future as they will be able to build on their existing solid platform and on the expertise of their new owners."