ORLANDO, Fla. -

Darden Restaurants and Golden Gate Capital on Monday announced that Red Lobster has been sold for approximately $2.1 billion in cash. 

 The sale of Red Lobster is part of Darden's strategy of increasing its focus on its Olive Garden brand, according to a news release.

“As the pioneer in casual dining and the world’s largest seafood restaurant company, Red Lobster is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in seafood. As a stand-alone, private company we can focus exclusively on what’s best for Red Lobster and our guests," Red Lobster CEO Kim Lopdruip said in a statement released to Local 6. "Our partner, Golden Gate Capital, is known for investing in iconic retail and restaurant brands and helping them unlock value and grow. Golden Gate Capital is the ideal partner for Red Lobster as we execute our growth plan, which focuses on Great Seafood, Great People and Great Results.”

Golden Gate Capital is a San Francisco-based private equity investment firm that has more than $12 billion of capital under management, including investments in Ann Taylor, California Pizza Kitchen, Payless ShoeSource, Eddie Bauer, Express, Zales, J.Jill and Pacific Sunwear.