Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of TGI Fridays Restaurants to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by July 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.
“We are proud of the Fridays brand and strong marketplace momentum that has been created over the past nearly four decades,” said Carlson President and CEO Trudy Rautio. “This transaction is a win for all parties and we are excited and confident that under Sentinel’s ownership Fridays will continue to experience significant growth and capitalize on new opportunities. For Carlson, this transaction frees up resources that the company can deploy to focus on and accelerate the growth of its hotel and travel businesses, at a time when significant opportunities exist in these markets.”
This transaction represents the conclusion of a thorough and exhaustive strategic alternatives process initiated by Carlson for TGI Fridays in November of 2013. TGI Fridays will continue to be run by its proven and well-respected management team, led by President and CEO Nick Shepherd.
The first TGI Fridays restaurant opened in 1965 in New York City, building a brand known for handcrafted American food and legendary drinks, served with genuine personal service. Carlson acquired TGI Fridays in 1975 when the brand had just 12 restaurants. Since that time TGI Fridays has become a brand loved around the world, today with more than 900 restaurants in operation globally in 60 countries and reported system-wide sales of $2.7 billion in 2013. TGI Fridays restaurants include TGI Fridays, Fridays FrontRow Sports Grill and Fridays American Bar, and employ over 70,000 people globally.
Sentinel, who will be TGI Fridays’ majority shareholder, has extensive restaurant and franchising investment experience and a demonstrated ability to create successful independent businesses through complex corporate carve outs. Sentinel has completed numerous acquisitions of both franchisors and franchisees, including Checkers/Rally’s, the largest franchisor and operator of dual drive-thru hamburger QSRs in the United States; Newk’s Eatery, a rapidly growing fast-casual concept in the Southeast United States; Falcon Holdings, the largest franchisee of Church’s Chicken restaurants; Huddle House, a leading franchisor of family dining restaurants in the Southeast; Massage Envy, the nation’s largest provider and franchisor of therapeutic massage and spa services; and Southern California Pizza Company, a 223-unit Pizza Hut franchisee operating in the greater Los Angeles market.
“We are very excited to partner with TGI Fridays’ outstanding management team,” said John McCormack, a Sentinel senior partner. “TGI Fridays is an iconic global brand with a long history of solid performance and a significant opportunity for future growth.”
Piper Jaffray & Co. served as Carlson’s financial advisor for this transaction and Locke Lord LLP served as legal counsel.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Sentinel.