Atlanta and Champaign, Ill. — Inspire Brands Inc., the parent company of Arby’s, has agreed to acquire Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. Terms of the transaction, expected to close by the end of October, were not disclosed. The Jimmy John’s Board of Directors, including founder and chairman Jimmy John Liautaud, unanimously approved the agreement.
Jimmy John’s had $2.15 billion in U.S. sales last year across 2,803 stores, a roughly 50 percent increase in both sales and locations since 2013, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Jimmy John’s, based in Champaign, opened its first sandwich shop in 1983, and is known for fast delivery. Atlanta-based Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company founded in 2018. Its current portfolio includes more than 8,300 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic and Rusty Taco locations worldwide.
Following completion of the transaction, Inspire will be the fourth-largest restaurant company in the United States, according to a news release. Inspire expects to have more than $14 billion in annual sales and more than 11,200 restaurants across 16 countries.
James North will serve as president of the Jimmy John’s brand, reporting to Paul Brown, co-founder and CEO of Inspire. Liautaud will step down as chairman and transition to an advisor position.
“Jimmy John’s is a great fit for the Inspire family,” says Brown. “It has grown into a national, differentiated brand with a passionate fanbase.”
Private equity firm Roark Capital Group is the financial backer that helped create Inspire through the Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings merger last year.
— Kristin Hiller