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Press release from PR Newswire

Darden Adds to International Expansion With Entry Into Brazil and Three Additional Countries

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Darden Adds to International Expansion With Entry Into Brazil and Three Additional Countries09:00 EST Thursday, February 21, 2013Veteran Restaurant Operator, International Meal Company, to develop Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brandsORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced it has entered into an area development agreement with International Meal Company (Bovesa:IMCH3) to develop and operate 57 restaurants under Darden's Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Panama. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050203/FLTH026LOGO )"We're excited to bring our three category-leading brands to these countries through our agreement with International Meal Company, a leading, multi-brand restaurant operator in South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean," said Kim Lopdrup, senior vice president of Business Development for Darden. "Brazil's growing middle class and strong affinity for American brands makes it an attractive growth market for Darden.  And IMC's focus in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Panama makes them the ideal partner for these markets." "As we've stated previously, Darden remains committed to owning and operating its restaurants domestically.  However we believe the best way for us to expand the reach of our portfolio internationally is by selecting great partners, such as IMC, with outstanding operations experience, local market knowledge, and the commitment to delivering our brands' experience with excellence."  IMC is Brazil's leading, multi-brand, quick casual restaurant company, with more than 350 company-owned restaurants and approximately 12,000 employees.  The company operates the Frango Assado and Viena flagship brands; which combined have almost 100 years in the market and are recognized by guests for their quality of food and service. "We are delighted to welcome Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse to our family," said IMC Chief Executive Officer Javier Gavilan. "We are constantly looking for the best brands around the world and Darden's fit perfectly with our idea of excellence." Darden Restaurants  Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 2,000 restaurants that generate over $8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 190,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2013, Darden was named to FORTUNE magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the third year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands ? Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House ? reflect the rich diversity of the people who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.About IMC  International Meal Company Holdings S.A., (Bovespa:IMCH3) is the leading multi-brand casual and quick-service restaurant operator in Latin America, with more than 350 company-owned restaurants and 12,000 employees in Brazil, the Caribbean, and Mexico. IMC has a strong presence in airports, motorways and shopping malls, and is well recognized for its quality food and service. IMC's goal is to be the largest food-service company in captive markets in Latin America. In its model of business IMC operates the full cycle of food and beverage generating a better experience for the consumers and superior profitability. For more information about IMC please visit our Investor Relations website at www.internationalmealcompany.com/ir or, for brand information, visit www.internationalmealcompany.com.DRI:G SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: GeneralFor further information: Rich Jeffers (Media), +1-407-245-4189, rjeffers@darden.com, or Matthew Stroud (Investors), +1-407-245-6458, mstroud@darden.com