Sentinel acquires controlling interest in Tony Roma's

NEW YORK, July 1, 1998 - Sentinel Capital Partners today announced that is has acquired a controlling interest in Roma Restaurant Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of NPC International, Inc., in a leveraged recapitalization transaction valued at $109 million. NPC, which currently owns and operates approximately 660 Pizza Hut restaurants and is the largest franchisee in the Pizza Hut system, will continue to own a minority stake in the company. The recapitalization positions Tony Roma's for aggressive growth in the United States and internationally. To finance the transaction, Tony Roma's placed $75 million in high yield bonds through Salomon Smith Barney and Schroders. SCP originated, sponsored, negotiated, and arranged the senior debt, and provided equity financing.

Tony Roma's, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is the operator and franchisor of the largest national casual dining chain specializing in ribs with 194 restaurants located in 25 states in the United States and in 18 foreign countries. Founded in 1972, Tony Roma's restaurants are primarily located in Florida, Texas and California. Both the Tony Roma's name and its "Famous for Ribs" and "A Place for Ribs" slogans are well-recognized throughout the United States. Since Tony Roma's inception, its baby back ribs have won numerous consumer and industry awards in more than 25 markets. In addition to its award-winning ribs, the menu features Tony Roma's signature deep-fried onion ring loaf.

The Tony Roma's concept is designed to serve a demographically and geographically diverse customer base, and provide high quality food at moderate prices. Tony Roma's restaurants are generally located in free-standing buildings and seat approximately 200 guests with separate bar areas. The restaurants have a fun, comfortable atmosphere with distinctive and varied decor and provide consumers with high quality, friendly service. The Tony Roma's concept is appropriate for a wide variety of casual dining occasions including family dinners and business lunches.