Fast-food burger chain Jack in the Box Inc. (Nasdaq: JACK) said it is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. The company acknowledged in a press release that it had discussions with potential buyers. If Jack in the Box does not find a buyer, the company said it is also exploring options for a new capital structure, including a bond issuance. Jack in the Box operates more than 2,200 restaurants. The announcement comes on the heels of Jack in the Box completing its $305 million sale of Mexican restaurant chain Qdoba to Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE: APO) in 2018. Fast-food restaurants are attracting busy consumers and buyer attention. In 2018, The Jordan Co. and Durational Capital Management said they will buy Bojangles Inc. (Nasdaq: BOJA) for $593 million; Roark acquired Sonic Corp.; and in 2017, Oak Hill Capital Partners bought Checkers Drive-in Restaurants. For more on restaurant M&A trends, read the full story: What’s attracting hungry buyers to restaurants? Here are 7 trends.

Deal news
Wind Point Partners-backed Pestell Group has acquired Targeted Pet Treats, a maker of pet dental treats and chews. Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP advised the target. Kirkland & Ellis represented Pestell. Antares Capital, BMO Sponsor Finance and PennantPark provided financing.

DataBank has purchased data center operator LightBound. Cowen and Co. (Nasdaq: COWN) and Barnes & Thornburg advised LightBound. Jones Day and Ernst and Young advised DataBank.

Norwest Venture Partners has invested in Jolyn Clothing Co., a designer and seller of women’s swimwear and apparel.

PPC Partners has acquired Plaskolite, a provider of transparent thermoplastic sheet products, from Charlesbank Capital Partners.

Branch acquisitions, once a popular way to scale up in new markets, have started to go by the wayside in the digital age. Read the full story: Are branch deals still worthwhile?

For more deal announcements, see The weekly wrap: MidOcean, Trivity Health, Vista.

For more fundraising news, see PE fundraising scorecard: CVC and Oak Hill.

Featured content
Private equity firms are giving back – organizing groceries at food pantries, mentoring students in schools, running races for cancer cures and pitching in at animal shelters. In time for the holidays, Mergers & Acquisitions highlights the philanthropic and volunteering initiatives of 5 PE firms: the Carlyle Group LP (Nasdaq: CG), Frontier Capital, Huron Capital, the Riverside Co. and Star Mountain Capital. At Carlyle, charity starts at the top, with CEO David Rubenstein’s signing of The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Community involvement is more important than ever to today’s work force. Millennials, defined as people born between 1981 and 1996 by the Pew Research Center, are “for sustainability, diversity, inclusion and giving back to the community,” says Carlyle managing director Christopher Ullman. “We are finding this more and more. Yes, we are here to make money, secure retirement for pensioners, but the firm wants to support people’s efforts to make the world a better place.” Frontier Capital supports several causes, including The Miracle League, a baseball organization for people who are mentally and physically challenged. “There’s more to life than work and material things, and our people understand that,” says Frontier managing partner Andrew Lindner. At Detroit-based Huron Capital, the firm’s philanthropic efforts are focused on local groups. “We want to leave our footprint in this community where we live and work while being as helpful as possible,” says partner Gretchen Perkins. “The charitable activities we do as a group, the ability for each employee to influence where Huron’s donations go, and the ability to perform community service during work hours, or receive matching funds for an employee’s personal non-profit passion, all contribute to a portion of an employee’s sense of purpose and contributing to the greater good.” Read the full story, The Big Give.

We asked dealmakers at ACG Philadelphia’s M&A East to share their thoughts on Giving Back. Check out our video interview with Baker Tilly Capital’s Judit Nagy-Eichelber: Volunteer work brings teams together. Also watch our conversation with Reed Smith’s Jonathan Moyer: For millennial dealmakers, giving back is part of who they are.

In this busy shopping season, retailers are increasingly turning to tech M&A to help them compete with online purveyors, especially Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN). China’s largest retailer and Intel have launched a joint lab that will to explore retail applications for the Internet of Things (IoT). The Digitized Retail Joint Lab will develop next-generation vending machines, media and advertising solutions, and technologies to be used in the stores of the future, based on Intel architecture. The ongoing challenges in the sector continue to force some retailers to close, including the June liquidation of Toys R Us, backed by Bain Capital and KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR). Technology is driving many of the transactions. See our list, 5 trends driving retail M&A deals.

The success of the Blackstone-led consortium’s bid for Thomson Reuters Corp, along with the ongoing joint Arconic bid, have gotten people talking about a potential return to the pre-crisis era of club deals and collaborations. Read the full guest article by Augnetius’ Hugh Stacey: Are private equity club deals making a comeback?

The New Orleans Saints take on the Carolina Panthers on Monday night to wrap up NFL Week 15. Off the field, many football players invest in companies. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently teamed with former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who is the co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, to launch a sports media startup called Religion of Sports Media, which has raised $3 million in venture capital funding from CourtsideVC and Advancit Capital. Muhsin Muhammad, who played wide receiver for the Carolina Panthersand the Chicago Bears, is a managing director of private equity firm Axum Capital Partners. Steve Young, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is a co-founder of private equity firm HGGC. View our slideshow, NFL stars Tom Brady, Michael Strahan, Steve Young go PE.

ACG New York Women of Leadership Summit brings together women in the middle-market dealmaking community for a day focused on networking and knowledge sharing on Jan. 17 at the Intercontinental Barclay Hotel. Alexa Von Tobel, chief innovation officer of Northwestern Mutual, keynotes.

Exponent Women kicks off the new year with an evening of networking on Jan. 24 at The Campbell, at New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Jazz Age financier John W. Campbellconverted the space to his private office and reception hall in 1923, and it has recently been restored by design firm Ingrao Inc.

ACG Boston, ACG Connecticut, ACG New Jersey, ACG New York & ACG Philadelphia host ACG Northeast Dealmaking at the Mountain at Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vermont Jan. 27-29. The event provides a chance for middle-market M&A professionals from across the northeast to come together for two days of close knit networking, shared conversations and valuable time spent to deepen your relationships within the deal community.