GLENDALE CALIF. —Poised to complete what has been a drama-filled, $2.3 billion merger of two national chains, IHOP Inc. chairman and chief executive Julia Stewart promised to bring a “fresh perspective” to the leadership of Applebee’s upon the expected close of the transaction later this month. But whatever new direction awaits the acquired casual-dining giant under IHOP’s ownership, that new course will be steered without input from 11 ...

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