RBI TO TAKE OVER FIREHOUSE SUBS IN $1BN DEAL

PUBLISHING DATE

Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the parent company of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes is to acquire another North American fast food chain, Firehouse Restaurant Group (Firehouse Subs) for $1 billion (€880m) in an all-cash transaction.

According to a statement, the transaction will offer significant long-term unit growth potential to drive attractive returns for all stakeholders and is expected to be immediately accretive to RBI’s diluted net earnings per share.

RBI says Firehouse Subs adds a strong and loved restaurant to its portfolio and complements its existing quick service restaurant brands. It is frequently rated as the number-one brand in its QSR sandwich category for food quality, according to RBI, and has one of the strongest brand-love ratings in its category – driven by the Foundation that has now granted $62.5 million (€55m) in essential life-saving equipment and other support to public safety organisations.

The brand was founded in Jacksonville, Florida in 1994 by brothers and former firefighters Chris and Robin Sorensen Sorensen, and is “built on decades of culture rooted in public service, creating hot and hearty subs piled high with the highest quality meats and cheeses and a commitment to saving lives through the establishment of the non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.”

According to the press release, Firehouse Subs is a strong and growing player within the $30bn (€26bn) U.S. QSR sandwich category. Since 2010, it has increased its number of restaurants three fold to 200, while quadrupling system-wide sales to an expected and approximate $1.1bn (€968m) for 2021.

This momentum extends into 2021, with October year to date U.S. comparable sales versus 2019 of 20%. The brand benefits from a strong family of franchisees who own and operate 97% of the brand’s restaurants across 46 U.S. States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Firehouse Subs is expected to generate roughly $50 million of 2021E Adjusted EBITDA.

Commenting on the deal, José Cil, chief executive officer of RBI commented: “Firehouse Subs is a special brand with a talented team, impressive culture and community focus that resonates with guests and closely aligns with our core values at RBI. We see tremendous potential to accelerate U.S. and international growth at Firehouse Subs with RBI’s development expertise, global franchisee network and digital capabilities. We are excited to welcome the Firehouse Subs team to the RBI family and to continue our ambitious dream of building the world’s most loved restaurant brands.”

Don Fox, chief executive officer of Firehouse Subs added: “At Firehouse Subs we are united in our commitment to and passion for hearty and flavorful food, heartfelt service, and public safety. Joining the RBI family of brands provides an energizing opportunity to assist more communities, not only across America and Canada, but around the globe. The donations we generate for our Foundation through our restaurants means changing and saving lives, so we can’t wait to accelerate our journey at home and around the world.”

Transaction Details

Under the terms of the agreement, RBI will acquire Firehouse Subs for $1bn in an all-cash transaction. RBI plans to fund the acquisition through a combination of cash on hand and debt. The transaction is expected to close in the coming months subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Following the closing of the transaction, Firehouse Subs will remain based in Jacksonville, Florida, and will continue to be managed by chief executive officer, Don Fox, and Chief Financial Officer, Vincent Burchianti.

Advisors

BofA Securities, Inc. and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as financial advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as legal advisors to RBI. Firehouse Subs was advised by TD Securities and Latham and Watkins.

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