Subway’s sale process is reportedly moving to a second round of bidding and a potential buyer could be revealed next month, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The publication said the first round came in March and that many bidders were removed because their offers were not enough. Earlier this year, the Journal reported that Subway is valuing itself at more than $10 billion. The publication prefaced that there isn’t a guarantee the sandwich chain will be sold for that much or that a transaction will happen at all. However, if it were to occur, it would be the biggest transaction since Inspire Brands purchased Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins for $11.3 billion.

The Journal said there are more than 10 suitors. Among them are “big names in private equity” currently conducting due diligence. Second-round bids will likely be due around the end of April and a buyer could be identified by the end of May, sources told the media outlet. 

J.P. Morgan is serving as the financial adviser during the sales process. Subway confimed in mid-February that it’s seeking a sale. However, the company emphasized there’s no timeline or assurance that a sale will occur and that it will not make any further public comment until the process finishes.

Companies linked to Subway include Roark Capital Group—parent of Inspire and Focus Brands—along with Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, TDR Capital, TSG Consumer Partners, and TPG.

Subway is one of the world’s largest restaurant chains, with almost 37,000 stores across the world. It’s the biggest chain in terms of U.S. stores, with around 20,000. It’s coming off a 2022 in which it surpassed global sales projections and achieved eight straight quarters of positive same-store sales. Global comps lifted 9.2 percent year-over-year and 29.1 percent against 2020. The top 75 percent, about 17,000 restaurants, saw same-store sales grow 12.5 percent against 2021. These units also consistently beat decade-old weekly AUV benchmarks. 

Fast Food, Finance, Growth, Operations, Story, Subway