KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pancake house operator IHOP Corp. said Thursday it had completed its $1.9 billion purchase of casual dining chain Applebee's International Inc.

Under terms of the deal, shareholders of Applebee's, based in Overland Park, Kan., will be paid $25.50 per share, a 4.6 percent premium over its closing price on the day before the offer was announced in July and 2 cents above where the shares were trading Thursday afternoon.

Glendale, Calif.-based IHOP is also assuming $155 million in Applebee's debt as part of the deal.

The combined company has $6.8 billion in annual sales and more than 3,250 restaurants.

To pay for the acquisition, IHOP officials said they plan to franchise 475 of Applebee's 510 company-owned stores by the end of 2010, expecting to sell select markets by early next year.

IHOP also plans to sell real estate tied to around 200 of those stores.

Officials at both companies have characterized the deal as a way to help rejuvenate Applebee's, one of the nation's largest restaurant chains. Its profits and sales have fallen in the past year as rising fuel and housing costs and changing consumer behavior have reduced traffic in its dining rooms.

Julia Stewart, IHOP's chief executive officer and a former Applebee's executive, said in a news release that she and her management team will also focus on finding the chain's place in the market, which would then drive changes in menu items, restaurant decor and marketing to return to positive same-store sales.

The deal is viewed as a coup for IHOP, which is smaller than Applebee's but has had success in building its own brand and sales in the face of economic headwinds.