Subway joins Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s and Buffalo Wild Wings in the Roark Capital stable

Roark Capital Group is set to become owner of Subway through a proposed acquisition that the privately owned chain known for its tall sandwiches revealed Thursday.

The deal will include subsidiaries of the private equity firm and Subway, which has been considering a possible sale for more than six months. Reuters reported, quoting anonymous sources, that its value exceeds $9 billion.

“This transaction reflects Subway’s long-term growth potential, and the significant value of our brand and franchisees around the world,” said John Chedsee, Subway CEO.

Subway agrees to sell to Roarke Capital, ending nearly six decades of family ownership

Here’s a closer look at Subway buyers:

Roark manages about $37 billion in assets, according to its website.

The company invests frequently in franchises, with the assets in its portfolio coming from sectors such as restaurants, fitness, business services, and more. It is headquartered in Atlanta.

Subway sign

Subway is the eighth-largest American restaurant chain with 20,810 locations, and generated $9.8 billion in domestic sales last year. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Subway “has a bright future with Roark,” Chidsey said, adding that the sandwich chain is “committed to continuing to focus on a win-win approach for our franchisees, guests and employees.”

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Aside from its upcoming addition of Subway and over 37,000 stores to its portfolio, Roark has majority ownership of Inspire Brands and Focus Brands, according to previous press releases from the private equity firm.

Roark, through Inspire and Focus, has a large number of well-known series. Some of them include Arby’s, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Baskin Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cinnabon, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s and Sonic.

Arbi store website

Inspire Brands is the franchisee and operator of Arby’s. (Amy Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Dunkin donuts coffee and donut with sprinkles

Roark Capital-owned Inspire Brands acquired Dunkin’ Brands for $11.3. billion dollars in December 2020. (Reuters / Jim Young / Archive / Reuters)


Jimmy John’s, Subway’s counterpart in the sandwich market, has a retail footprint that spans more than 2,800 locations.

Roark is associated with two fast food chains, Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s, through a majority stake in CKE Restaurants, which it acquired in 2013, according to a press release. It has other investments in the food sector as well.

On its website it has identified the owners of Two Men and a Truck, International Car Wash Group and Bascamp Fitness as some of their non-food investments.

The company said Rourke generates “nearly $77 billion in annual system revenue” through its portfolio of projects.

The name of the private equity firm is derived from the main character in Ayn Rand’s 1943 book “The Fountainhead”. How it operates is “intended to emulate the principles of independence and integrity” demonstrated by the character, according to Roarke.

Go Top contributed to this report.

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