A new special acquisition company is targeting the restaurant industry, and it’s backed with loads of experience from Sonic Drive-In and Dunkin’.
The SPAC, called “Do It Again,” aims to raise $125 million and merge with a business operating in the restaurant, food-related, and franchise sectors in North America. SPACs, sometimes referred to as blank-check companies, are formed for the purpose of merging with a brand and bringing it to the public stock market.
Do it Again is led by CEO and Chairman Clifford Hudson, who spent 35 years at Sonic and served as CEO from 1995 to 2018. Under his leadership, the chain’s footprint grew by more than 145 percent and sales rose 400 percent.
His teammates include Robert Rosenberg, who worked as president and CEO of Dunkin’ for 35 years and as a Sonic board director for 23 years; Craig Miller, who served as Sonic’s senior vice president and chief technology officer for seven years; Corey Horsch and Scott McLain, who both had stints as Sonic’s CFO; Sid Feltenstein, who spent 12 years as Dunkin’s CMO; and Kate Lavelle, who worked as Dunkin’s CFO for six years.
And as if that weren’t enough, the SPAC also includes Kathy Taylor, a former mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Sonic board member, and Sunil Dharod and Anand Gala, who are acquiring CiCi’s Pizza out of bankruptcy.
“Our directors, director nominees, officers and industry advisors bring not only decades of expertise in operations but substantial experience in acquiring and growing consumer facing companies,” the company said in its SEC filing. “We believe this will enhance our ability to identify and execute our initial business combination and lend the cumulative experience of our team to execute upon various value creation initiatives after the successful completion of our initial business combination.”
The group recognizes that in recent years, consumers have demanded more convenience and higher quality options, and it wants to select a business that’s meeting these trends head-on. Some of the listed criteria include: strong and differentiated, proven success with a large regional or national presence, capable management team, credible plan to improve financial performance, and several more.
It's also seeking a brand with an enterprise value of at least $400 million to $1.5 billion or more.
“Collectively, we understand the challenges that restaurants currently face, including rising labor costs, heightened attention to quality, increase of off premise dining, changing economics from third-party delivery, and the need for strong digital capabilities and interactions with customers,” the company said. “Our deep experience in all facets of the restaurant and consumer facing industries will allow us to understand the methods of creating value and customer brand loyalty from these challenges.”
Do it Again is the latest in a growing line of restaurant SPACs seeking a big-time deal. Earlier this year, Bite Acquisition Corp., a SPAC that includes former Dine Brands CEO Julia Stewart, announced intentions to raise $150 million to acquire a traditional or nontraditional restaurant brand. Not too long after, Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group announced its own SPAC, which is looking to raise $250 million to merge with a growth company.
FAST Acquisition Corp, formed in August 2020, announced in early February that it will take billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s Golden Nugget casino and Landry’s restaurant business public by the end of Q2. The enterprise value of the company is expected to be $6.6 billion.
Additionally, Red Robin Chairman Dave Pace and Bartaco and Barcelona Wine Bar Founder Andy Pforzheimer helped form Tastemaker Acquisition Corp. Starboard Value Acquisition Company, which includes former Dunkin’ and Papa John’s CEO Nigel Travis, was also created last summer.