Jimmy John’s Sells Majority Stake To Equity Firm

September 08, 2016
A Jimmy John's location on University Avenue in Urbana.

A Jimmy John's location on University Avenue in Urbana.

Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

Champaign-based sandwich chain Jimmy John's Sandwiches says it sold a majority stake in the company to private equity firm Roark Capital Group. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sandwich chain founder Jimmy John Liataud will remain chairman of the company's board, and remain the largest single shareholder.

Roark Capital of Atlanta has invested in several fast food companies before, including pretzel seller Auntie Anne's and sandwich restaurant chain Arby's. Founded in 1983, Jimmy John's has more than 2,500 Jimmy John's locations across the country and plans to open 1,100 more in the next few years. As a comparison, rival sandwich chain Subway has more than 44,000 shops.

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."

"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," said Liataud. "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.”

James North will remain as president and CEO of the privately-held company.

Story source: AP