NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Atlanta-based company that franchises Popeyes fried chicken restaurants has purchased the recipes for many of the dishes served in those restaurants from Louisiana-based Diversified Foods and Seasonings for $43 million.

Diversified is owned by the estate of the chain's founder, Al Copeland.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. announced the purchase in a news release. The statement said the deal eliminates the $3.1 million annual royalty Popeyes was previously scheduled to pay Diversified until 2029.

Copeland founded what became the Popeyes chain in 1972 in a New Orleans suburb. He lost the company in a 1990s bankruptcy case after his ill-fated acquisition of the competing Church's chicken chain in 1989.

However, he retained the exclusive contract to supply spices to Popeyes through Diversified Foods and Seasonings.

Copeland died in 2008.

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