Bob Evans revamps management structure while search for new CEO continues.
Bob Evans estimated proceeds from the sale of 145 restaurants at approximately $165 million to $170 million

NEW ALBANY, Ohio – Bob Evans Farms Inc. said it will sell 145 restaurant properties to Mesirow Realty Sale-Leaseback Inc., an affiliate of Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc., for $200 million. The company expects the transaction to close during its fourth fiscal quarter ending April 29, 2016, and to yield net proceeds of approximately $165 to $170 million.

“Completion of this transaction, after the previously announced sale-leaseback of two manufacturing facilities, marks another major milestone in the company's efforts to monetize a significant portion of its real estate assets,” Mark Hood, chief administrative officer and chief financial officer, said in a statement. “We expect to use the net proceeds from this transaction to pay down debt and to repurchase shares, while maintaining prudent leverage.”

The properties will be leased under an absolute triple-net single master lease agreement under which the lessee will continue to be responsible for all costs related to taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs and replacements. The primary term of the lease, which will be treated as an operating lease, is 20 years with up to five successive five-year renewal options. Annual straight-line rent expense, inclusive of a 1.5 percent annual escalator, will be approximately $15.4 million, excluding amortization of deferred gains.