CARPINTERIA, CALIF. — Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee (THL) Partners has entered an agreement to acquire CKE Restaurants, Inc. for approximately $928 million, including the assumption of about $309 million in debt. CKE Restaurants has a total of 3,147 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and 14 countries, including 1,221 Carl’s Jr. restaurants and 1,913 Hardee’s restaurants.

As part of the transaction, CKE shareholders will receive $11.05 in cash for each share of CKE common stock they own, representing a 24% premium to the company’s closing price of $8.91 on Feb. 25.

“We believe this transaction provides excellent value to our shareholders and represents an exciting opportunity to continue the growth and development of CKE Restaurants in partnership with THL,” said Andrew F. Puzder, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants. “THL’s proven history of success as an investor and value-added partner to its portfolio companies, coupled with its deep financial expertise and experience in the consumer sector, will also benefit all of our stakeholders, including our franchisees and our employees.”

CKE said it will continue to solicit proposals from third parties until April 6.

Established in 1974, THL has completed more than 200 add-on transactions for its investors. Notable transactions sponsored by THL include Dunkin’ Brands, Michael Foods, The Nielsen Co., and Snapple.