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DEL TACO LEADS LIST OF FRANCHISE TIMES DEALMAKERS WINNERS

Del Taco today received the Franchise Times Deal of the Year award, for its merger with Levy Acquisition Corp., the shell company controlled by Chicago restaurateur Larry Levy, and its subsequent refinancing of debt and debut on the public markets.

CEO Paul Murphy told Franchise Times in an earlier interview that Del Taco can now use its capital to grow rather than to service debt. He noted the benefit of having Levy as chairman of the board and other experienced restaurant operators as board members, to lend expertise to the Lake Forest, California-based brand.

Eleven other Franchise Times Dealmakers winners also received awards at a gala awards luncheon today, at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas. "These dealmakers are smart, creative and most of all relentless in finding the capital they need to grow their companies," said Franchise Times Editor-in-Chief Beth Ewen. "Our panel of judges, all selected because of their expertise in franchise finance, noted the diversity and creativity needed to land the boldest deals in franchising."

Steve Brake, CFO of Del Taco, explained highlights of the deal on a panel comprised of four Dealmakers award winners talking about the art of their deal. Other panelists were Aziz Hashim of NRD Capital; Anil Yadav of Yadav Enterprises; and Randy Johansen of American Family Care.

The full list of Franchise Times Dealmakers award winners, with details about how they attracted their new suitors, is the cover story of the April issue of Franchise Times, available April 1 in print and at www.franchisetimes.com.

The Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference continues through tomorrow noon, at the Cosmopolitan. Nominations for next year's Franchise Times Dealmakers project, highlighting the boldest deals in franchising, open October 1.
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