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Arby's Sold to Private Equity Firm

Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. announced that it is selling a majority stake of Arby's Restaurant Group Inc. to private equity firm Roark Capital Group for a transaction value of $430 million. Wendy's/Arby's will retain an 18.5 percent ownership.

Arby's, based in Atlanta, is the second largest quick-service sandwich chain in the U.S.  It has more than 3,600 restaurants systemwide.

Roark Capital Group, also based in Atlanta, was named by founder Neal Aronson for Howard Roark, the uncompromising architect in the late Ayn Rand's novel, The Fountainhead.

Prior to founding Roark in 2001, Aronson was a co-founder and the CFO of U.S. Franchise Systems, Inc. Within five years USFS became the 10th largest hotel franchise company with 500 open franchised hotels in 49 states and five countries.

Possibly mindful of the reputation private equity firms have, Aronson has said, "Our goal is to be the preferred strategic partner and capital source for franchise companies by earning the trust of those with whom we do business, We abide by the highest ethical and moral standards while treating our management partners, franchisees, investors, lenders, and advisors, with dignity and respect, creating a long-term win-win proposition.”

Roark is a major player in the franchise industry, with both restaurant and non-restaurant brands. Il Fornaio, an upscale Italian restaurant line that averages over $5 million in revenue per location, and Canelleto Ristorante Veneto, both part of its latest buy that was announced on Friday, appear to be non-franchised brands. The Wendy's/Arby's deal had been announced a few days earlier, on Monday.
 

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