The parent company of Chuck E. Cheese may be the top contender in a bid for Qdoba, the New York Post has reported.
Jack in the Box, the owner of Qdoba, is ending the auction process for the 720-unit chain before November 20, which is 10 days before it is scheduled to report its fourth quarter earnings. According to the New York Post, Apollo Global Management is set to purchase the brand for as high as $500 million.
Jack in the Box purchased Qdoba in 2003, and has grown the unit count by more than 600 locations. But the chain has lagged behind its sister brand, posting larger sales declines than Jack in the Box for several quarters.
At the company’s investor meeting last year, Jack in the Box CEO and chairman Lenny Comma said one of the factors that would lead the company to reconsider its Qdoba strategy was valuation.
“It has become more apparent since then that the overall valuation of the company is being impacted by having two different business models,” Comma said previously.
If Apollo does purchase Qdoba, the brand will not be the first in foodservice that the private equity firm has overtaken. Apollo made billions off of CKE, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, before selling it to Roark Capital in 2013. Apollo purchased Chuck E. Cheese in 2014 for about $950 million.
The New York Post reports that there is a possibility that Apollo could potentially combine Qdoba with the Chuck E. Cheese platform to take the company public. Qdoba had revenue of $350 million in the nine months ended July 9, and is expected to sell for $250 to $500 million, a source told the media outlet.