CKE Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:CKR – News) announced today the sale of 11 Hardee’s restaurants in the Jefferson City and Columbia, Missouri, markets to Rising Stars, LLC. This transaction marks the completion of the strategic refranchising program the Company originally announced in April, 2007.

Under the refranchising program, CKE Restaurants sold a total of 238 Hardee’s units to franchisees and secured commitments for 115 new franchise restaurants under development agreements for those markets. The Company sold 38 units, or 19 percent, more than it originally announced it would refranchise since the demand for these units exceeded expectations.

The Company currently owns 477 Hardee’s restaurants out of a total of 1,913 company-owned and franchised Hardee’s restaurants and 415 Carl’s Jr. restaurants out of a total of 1,194 company-owned and franchised Carl’s Jr. restaurants.

This transaction is the latest step in the Company’s program to increase overall unit growth, particularly franchise unit growth. For fiscal 2009 to date, the Company has entered into a total of 20 franchise development agreements representing commitments for 380 restaurants, consisting of 236 domestic units and 144 international units, including agreements to enter three new countries — China, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan. Over the next five years, the Company anticipates it will add more than 800 new restaurants to its global store base. In the process, franchised restaurants should increase from 71 percent of the system to approximately 75 percent, and international restaurants should increase from 10 percent to 19 percent of the system.

“We exceeded our goals for this program with respect to both the number of restaurants we refranchised and the number of restaurants franchisees committed to build under the development agreements we executed as a part of the sales,” says Andrew F. Puzder, the Company’s chief executive officer. “We are also pleased that we have been able to complete our strategic refranchising program without the need to provide company-backed financing for any transaction, further underscoring the return to success that we have achieved at Hardee’s. Although our announced refranchising program has been completed, additional multi-unit franchise opportunities are available in the midwest and eastern United States.” Information on these opportunities can be found at

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