Private-equity groups have eagerly stalked restaurant franchisors in recent years, snapping up such companies as Dunkin’ Brands, owner of the Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Togo’s chains, as well as Hamburger Hamlet, Applebee’s, Chevy’s and Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, the owners of the Sizzler chain. These days, however, in their eagerness to put their money to work in the restaurant industry, private-equity groups are stalking large franchisees, too, ...

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