When the buyout bubble burst last year, not all restaurant-related deals were washed away.Instead, the deals—still driven largely by the same private-equity firms behind the shopping spree of recent years—now take into account the limited access to capital, weak performance throughout the restaurant industry and the slumping economy. In other words, acquirers no longer are searching for large buyout targets with huge price tags, but rather distressed companies that appear to be sound ...

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