Industry News | October 8, 2010

Focus Brands Buys Auntie Anne's

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Roark Capital, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, announced today that one of its portfolio companies, FOCUS Brands, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Auntie Anne’s, the franchisor of the world’s largest hand-rolled soft pretzel chain.

Auntie Anne's has its headquarts in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and has nearly 1,100 stores in 44 states and 21 countries.

The transaction is expected to close later this fall.

FOCUS Brands’ subsidiaries are the franchisors and operators of more than 2,200 ice cream shoppes, bakeries, restaurants, and cafes in the U.S., District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 38 foreign countries under the brand names Carvel, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Seattle’s Best Coffee.

With the addition of Auntie Anne’s, FOCUS Brands will have six franchise brands generating more than $1.4 billion in annual systemwide revenues through more than 45,000 points of distribution in 47 states and 42 countries.

“This world-renowned brand has been recognized repeatedly for offering a solid and rewarding business model for both their franchisees and their guests,” says Russ Umphenour, CEO of FOCUS Brands.

Auntie Anne’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Bill Dunn says, “Auntie Anne’s prides itself on offering high-quality products, efficient operations and people-focused philosophies. FOCUS Brands’ mission and vision complements Auntie Anne’s 22-year-old founding principles, and we look forward to working together to grow our brand and continue offering the fresh pretzel products and signature beverages that our guests have come to know and love.”

Auntie Anne’s represents Roark Capital’s 19th franchise investment and 8th investment in the restaurant industry.

Other Roark franchise companies include brands such as Batteries Plus, Fast Signs, McAlister’s Deli, Money Mailer, Pet Valu, Primrose Schools, and Wingstop.

Neal Aronson, managing partner of Roark Capital says, “Auntie Anne’s is a wonderful company with a great history. We are pleased to bring together these two highly-respected franchise organizations.”