Jimmy John’s said yes to a capital infusion from an Atlanta-based private equity group in a deal that could position the Champaign-based sandwich chain for expansion into global markets.
The company said it sold a majority stake to an affiliate of Roark Capital Group, an investor in such big-name fast-food chains such as Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and Arby’s. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal, according to industry watchers, is likely positioning Jimmy John’s to expand into global markets.
“There are certainly opportunities outside of the U.S., starting with Canada and then you look at London, South America and Mexico,” said Darren Tristano, president of Technomic, a food and beverage consultancy.
Jimmy John Liautaud opened the first Jimmy John’s in Charleston in 1983 after high school, with $25,000 from his father. He enrolled at Eastern Illinois University, only to drop out before finishing the first semester to grow his business. Jimmy John’s has more than 2,500 locations in 43 states and $2 billion in system-wide sales, according to a company statement. No changes in management are planned.