Focus Brands to acquire Auntie Anne's

Focus Brands to acquire Auntie Anne's

Private-equity firm Roark Capital said Friday that Focus Brands, one of its portfolio companies, is acquiring the Auntie Anne’s soft-pretzel chain.

Terms were not disclosed, but Roark said the deal is expected to close later this fall.

Lancaster, Pa.-based Auntie Anne's, which franchises 1,100 stores in 44 states and 21 countries, joins Carvel, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s and Moe’s Southwest Grill in Focus Brands' portfolio of restaurant concepts. Focus Brands also is the franchisor of Seattle's Best on certain military bases and select international markets.

With the addition of Auntie Anne's, Atlanta-based Focus Brands said it expects to generate annual revenue of $1.4 billion.

“This world-renowned brand has been recognized repeatedly for offering a solid and rewarding business model for both their franchisees and their guests,” Russ Umphenour, Focus Brands' chief executive, said in a statement. “Auntie Anne’s commitment to excellence plays perfectly into Focus Brands’ purpose to ‘make people happy.’”

Bill Dunn, president and chief executive of Auntie Anne’s, said the new partnership with Focus Brands would help the pretzel brand grow.

“Focus Brands’ mission and vision complements Auntie Anne’s 22-year-old founding principles, and we look forward to working together to grow our brand and continue offering the fresh pretzel products and signature beverages our guests have come to know and love,” he said.

The Auntie Anne’s acquisition will mark Roark’s 19th franchise investment and eighth in the restaurant industry. In addition to Focus Brands, Roark Capital owns McAlister’s Deli and Wingstop.

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected]