Shares of CKE Restaurants Inc. rose 4 percent Tuesday after the fast food chain said it has sold a group of Hardee's restaurants as part of its efforts to sell company-owned locations to franchisees.

Midwest First Star Inc. bought 23 restaurants in Indiana and Ohio and has committed to building seven new locations in those markets over the next seven years, said Carpinteria-based CKE, which also operates the Carl's Jr. chain.

The company said the sales will allow it to concentrate on core markets and increases its free cash flow. The company so far has sold 224 restaurants to franchisees and secured commitments for 105 new franchise restaurants.

CKE shares closed up 50 cents to $13.28 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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