Subway concludes 60-year family ownership stint, Roark Capital acquires sandwich chain

Subway has sold itself to private equity firm Roark Capital, ending a six-month long search for a buyer

Roark Capital buys subway

Roark Capital, a private equity firm with $37 billion in assets under management has acquired American sandwich chain Subway. On August 24th, the brand announced that it has entered into a definitive deal to be acquired by Roark Capital affiliates, ending a six-month long search for a buyer. The transaction comes on the heels of Subway announcing its 10th consecutive quarter of positive same store sales. 

Roark’s deal is one of the biggest acquisitions in fast food history, coming in just under Inspire Brands’ $11.3 billion purchase of Dunkin’ in October 2020. Roark owns Inspire, which also operates Subway rival Jimmy John’s, CNN reported.

The deal represents a significant step forward in Subway’s multi-year transformation path, combining Subway’s global reach and brand strength with Roark’s extensive knowledge of restaurant and franchise business models.

With this, it brings to an end the sandwich chain’s near six-decade run as a family-owned business.

In a statement, Subway said that the transaction is a “major milestone in Subway’s multi-year transformation journey, combining Subway’s global presence and brand strength with Roark’s deep expertise in restaurant and franchise business models.”

Roark holds investments in a number of large restaurant chains, including Arby’s, Auntie Anne’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carvel and Sonic, among others, the media outlet reported.

“This transaction reflects Subway’s long-term growth potential, and the substantial value of our brand and our franchisees around the world,” Subway CEO John Chidsey said in a statement. “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.”

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. However, the Wall Street Journal reported the purchase price was “around $9.6 billion,” which would be slightly below the chain’s $10 billion asking price. The deal’s closure is “subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions,” Subway said. Subway put itself up for sale in February.

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