Roark Capital Agrees to Acquire Subway Restaurant Chain

by Hayden Spiess

Milford, Conn. — Private equity firm Roark Capital has entered into a definitive agreement with Subway to acquire the Milford-based restaurant chain. The price was not disclosed, but according to CNBC, Subway previously sought $10 billion, and The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Roark offered $9.6 billion. According to CNBC, other bidders reportedly included TDR Capital and Sycamore Partners.

Founded more than 50 years ago by Peter Buck and Fred DeLuca, Subway boasts 36,592 restaurants globally, according to the company website. Market-research firm Technomic has reported that the chain garnered $9.8 billion in domestic sales across 20,810 stores last year.

The DeLuca and Buck families have continued to own the company, with this acquisition marking the first departure from family ownership. 

Atlanta-based Roark currently has $37 billion in assets under management, with a focus on consumer and business service companies and a specialization in franchise and multi-location businesses in the retail and restaurant sectors. The firm backs Focus Brands Group, which owns Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Schlotzsky’s. 

“This transaction reflects Subway’s long-term growth potential, and the substantial value of our brand and our franchisees around the world,” says John Chidsey, who has served as chief executive officer of Subway since 2019. “Subway has a bright future with Roark, and we are committed to continuing to focus on a win-win-win approach for our franchisees, our guests and our employees.” 

This approach will reportedly include the addition of 23,000 new restaurants worldwide in the coming years. Subway has stated that its management will remain in place, and Chidsey has signaled that he will remain in his position as CEO for the foreseeable future, according to The Wall Street Journal.

J.P. Morgan is acting as financial advisor for the transaction, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is serving as legal counsel to Subway. 

Hayden Spiess

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