Roark Capital Group acquires majority interest in Jimmy John's

Jimmy John's has opened more than 200 locations in each of the last five years.   Contributed image

Jimmy John's Sandwiches, one of the largest and fastest-growing brands in its restaurant category, has sold a majority interest in the company to private equity firm Roark Capital Group.

Jimmy John's, listed in the top slot of Entrepreneur Magazine's 2016 Franchise 500 list, has more than 2,500 locations. The company was founded in 1983 by Jimmy John Liautaud. Jimmy John's has opened more than 200 locations in each of the last five years.

As part of the deal, previous partner Weston Presidio will exit after holding a minority stake for 10 years.

"We partnered with Michael Lazarus and Jeff Mills at Weston Presidio 10 years ago and it's been an amazing journey," Liautaud said. "My team and I are excited to bring to our new partners at Roark the same energy and commitment to excellence that helped make our partnership with Weston Presidio so successful. I've spent two years getting to know the Roark team. They are best-in-class people that have the knowledge and expertise that will help us take this brand to the next level." 

Liautaud will continue guiding the company's strategic direction as chairman of the board of directors and will remain the single largest individual shareholder. James North will also stay with the company, leading day-to-day operations as president and CEO. 

"Jimmy has built an amazing business with unlimited potential," Neal Aronson, managing partner at Roark, said. "It's a testament to his vision, commitment to quality, and the team's outstanding execution. We are thrilled to be a part of this iconic brand and look forward to supporting its continued growth."

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