Roark Capital buys Subway in one of biggest acquisitions in fast-food industry


Subway has sold itself to private equity firm Roark Capital, ending a six-month long search for a buyer. It brings to an end the sandwich chain’s near six-decade run as a family-owned business, a media report said.

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.

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.”

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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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