Darden agrees to buy Eddie V's for $59 million

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Darden Restaurants Inc. said Wednesday that it will buy Eddie V's Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille restaurant brands for $59 million in cash.

The restaurants will become part of Darden's specialty restaurant segment. The deal is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The deal includes eight Eddie V's restaurants and three Wildfish restaurants. Eddie V's four Roaring Fork restaurants are not part of the deal.

Darden's specialty group, which includes The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52, has accounted an increasing part of Darden's revenue, CEO Clarence Otis said, and the acquisition will add to that. Darden expects the deal not to affect its fiscal 2012 profit.

The Orlando-based company owns and operates 1,900 full-service restaurants, including Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other chains.

Darden shares rose 42 cents to close Wednesday at $46.33.