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Publicly traded USFS accepts offer to go private

Atlanta-based U.S. Franchise Systems Inc. (USFS) has accepted an acquisition offer from the Pritzker family of Chicago to purchase all of its outstanding stock at $5 per share. The offer, valued at an estimated $100 million, will move the publicly traded company to the private arena. No timetable has been set for the completion of the transaction.

Once the deal is completed, all outstanding shares of the company will be owned by the Pritzker family business interests, chairman/CEO Michael Leven and members of his family, and president/COO Steven Romaniello. The agreement cancels the Pritzker family's prior plan to invest $75 million in USFS.

In a prepared statement, Leven expressed satisfaction with the deal. "This is a win-win transaction for all concerned. It is an attractive offer for our shareholders, and will provide for our franchisees and our employees the continuation of USFS's distinctive approach to the lodging franchise business... with powerful strategic and financial advantages provided by the ownership and sponsorship of the Pritzker family business interests," he said. "This is good news for our shareholders, our franchisees and our employees."

USFS franchises Microtel Inns & Suites, Hawthorn Suites and Best Inns & Suites. Leven and Romaniello were two of 12 employees who started USFS in 1995.

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