Roark Capital has reached an agreement to acquire a majority interest in Champaign, Illinois-based Jimmy John’s Sandwiches for an undisclosed amount. As part of the deal, Western Presidio will exit the company leaving behind its minority stake that it held for ten years.
Jimmy John’s, founded in 1983 by Jimmy John Liautaud, has opened more than 200 locations in the past five years with the help of its independent franchisees, and plans to open more than 1,100 locations over the next few years. The sandwich franchise has more than 2,500 locations to date and nearly $2 billion in system-wide sales. There are no changes to Jimmy John’s management, where Liautaud will remain chairman of the board of directors and the single largest individual shareholder.
Liautaud states that he “spent two years getting to know the Roark team” and notes that their expertise will help take the Jimmy John’s “brand to the next level.” The deal with Jimmy John’s brings Roark’s number of franchise/multi-unit brands to 56, generating revenues of nearly $23 billion through approximately 25,000 locations that operate in 50 states and 75 countries. Some of Atlanta-based Roark’s other restaurant investments include Arby’s, Auntie Anne’s, Carvel and Cinnabon.
Private equity firms have found interest in restaurant chains as of late. Most recently, CenterOak Partners LLC acquired a majority stake in Wetzel’s Pretzels LLC; Pink Taco restaurant brand had been acquired by Z Capital Partners LLC for an undisclosed amount in April; and in 2015, General Atlantic agreed to make a minority growth investment in Barteca Holdings.
North Point Advisors advised Jimmy John’s.