March 27 (Reuters) - Darden Restaurants Inc
* Darden Restaurants agrees to acquire Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen for $780 million; adds a casual dining value leader to Darden’s portfolio of differentiated brands
* Darden Restaurants Inc - expects between $20 and $25 million of annualized pre-tax run rate synergies from deal by fiscal 2019.
* Darden Restaurants Inc says Darden will also pay $10 million for certain Cheddar’s transaction-related tax attributes
* Darden Restaurants Inc - Ian Baines, ceo of cheddar‘s, will remain president of Cheddar’s and report to Gene Lee, Darden president and ceo
* Darden Restaurants - deal expected to be accretive to co’s diluted net earnings per share in FY 2018 by about 12 cents, excluding any acquisition and integration-related expenses
* Darden Restaurants Inc - agreed to acquire Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen in an all-cash transaction from its stockholders Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: