In a deal that would make it the fourth-biggest restaurant company in the country, Inspire Brands will acquire Jimmy John’s for a price that was not disclosed. Inspire Brands is backed by private equity firm Roark Capital Group, which owns other notable restaurant brands such as Sonic Drive-In, Buffalo Wild Wings, Arby’s and Rusty Taco, CNBC reported.
Jimmy John’s has been aiming to be attractive to diners via its in-house delivery program, as delivery platforms such as Uber Eats and Grubhub have become popular. The deal also comes as the sandwich chain has experienced competition from Firehouse Subs, Jersey Mike’s Subs and Potbelly. The report also noted that Subway is aiming “to stage a comeback” following a significant U.S. expansion and an unprofitable deal that impacted its business.
James North, Jimmy John’s president, will stay at the company. Founder Jimmy John Liautaud, however, will no longer be board chairman, but he will serve as an adviser to the restaurant. Liautaud said in a statement, according to the outlet, “Jimmy John’s has found the ideal home at Inspire.” Liautaud continued, “Inspire’s long-term approach, culture of innovation and commitment to helping brands grow sets it apart from the rest.”
Last September, news surfaced that Inspire Brands announced that it would acquire Sonic for approximately $2.3 billion. The Sonic Board of Directors unanimously approved the agreement, which represented a premium of roughly 19 percent per share to Sonic’s closing stock price on Sept. 24, 2018 ($43.50 per share).
Clifford Hudson, who was Sonic’s CEO at the time, said in a September 2018 press release , “Our Board of Directors, taking into account the views of shareholders, conducted a comprehensive review of a wide range of strategic options to maximize shareholder value. This transaction delivers significant, immediate and certain value to Sonic shareholders, and the private ownership structure will provide important benefits to our guests, franchisees and employees.”