Jimmy John’s Sandwiches, one of the largest and fastest-growing fast-casual restaurant brands in the nation, announced today that an affiliate of Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm that focuses on franchise and consumer brands, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in the company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Jimmy John’s, founded in 1983 by Jimmy John Liautaud, has more than 2,500 locations and $2 billion in system-wide sales. The company has provided high-growth opportunities for its rapidly expanding base of independent franchisees, having opened more than 200 locations in each of the last five years, with a new-unit pipeline of more than 1,100 locations to be opened over the next several years. It ranked No. 1 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2016 annual Franchise 500 list.
There will not be any changes to management, as Liautaud will continue to help shape the company’s high-level strategic direction as Chairman of the Board of Directors and will remain the single largest individual shareholder, while James North will continue to lead the day-to-day operations of the business as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Champaign, Illinois-headquartered restaurant franchise brand.
As part of the transaction, previous partners Weston Presidio will exit after holding a minority stake for 10 years.
“We met Jimmy, James and the team when Jimmy John’s had 500 units and that exact same team has grown the business to over 2,500 units today,” said Jeff Mills, Managing Partner of Main Post Partners and a Partner of Weston Presidio. “Over our 10 years together, Jimmy John’s has generated an outstanding return for Weston Presidio. We are incredibly grateful for their exceptional performance, iconic brand, and rockstar team.”
Liautaud said, “We partnered with Michael Lazarus and Jeff Mills at Weston Presidio 10 years ago and it’s been an amazing journey. My team and I are excited to bring to our new partners at Roark the same energy and commitment to excellence that helped make our partnership with Weston Presidio so successful. I’ve spent two years getting to know the Roark team. They are best-in-class people that have the knowledge and expertise that will help us take this brand to the next level.”
Upon completion of the transaction, Roark will have acquired 56 franchise/multi-unit brands which generate annual system revenues of approximately $23 billion through 25,000 locations that operate in 50 states and 75 countries.
“Jimmy has built an amazing business with unlimited potential,” said Neal Aronson, Managing Partner of Roark. “It’s a testament to his vision, commitment to quality, and the team’s outstanding execution. We are thrilled to be a part of this iconic brand and look forward to supporting its continued growth.”
Dave Jacquin and his team from North Point Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to Jimmy John’s.