Act III Holdings LLC, a Ron Shaich-backed investment company that helped fund Cava Group Inc.’s 2018 acquisition of the publicly held Zoe’s Kitchen Inc., commended Cava’s successful IPO earlier in the week, the company said in a statement late Friday.
CAVA Group, the Washington, D.C.-based Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant brand, debuted Thursday on the New York Stock exchange, pricing its IPO of more that 14.4 million shares at $22 each. Cava stock closed Friday at $38.27 per share, an increase of nearly 74% from its opening price.
Act III Holdings, led by Panera Bread founder Shaich, helped fund Cava’s $300 million deal to take Zoe’s private in 2018. At the time, Cava had 66 units and Zoe’s had more than 260 restaurants.
The Zoe’s Kitchen deal was financed with a significant equity investment in Cava led by Boston-based Act III , as well was The Invus Group and participation from existing investors SWaN & Legend Venture Partners and Revolution Growth.
Act III Holdings said in its Friday statement that it remains Cava's largest non-institutional shareholder following Thursday’s public offering. Shaich, Act III’s CEO, serves as Cava’s board chair.
“Our warmest congratulations go out to [Cava CEO] Brett Schulman, his leadership team, the Cava founders, our fellow investors, and the Cava board members, all of whose passion and expertise built this company into what it is today,” Shaich said in a statement. “Together, we are ensuring that Cava fulfills its destiny as an industry gamechanger.”
Shaich stepped down as Panera’s CEO in January 2018, after the company’s sale to JAB Holdings in a $7.5 billion deal.
Shaich continued his statement on the Cava IPO: “I cannot express the deep honor and responsibility our teams feel knowing that so many respected institutional and individual investors put their confidence in Cava’s journey. With their support in this new chapter, Cava has never been better-positioned to live up to its potential as a category-defining brand, both now and into the future.”
Act III Holdings invests in emerging restaurant and entertainment categories. Existing portfolio investments include Cava, Tatte Bakery, Life Alive Organic Café and Level99. During the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, Act III and T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. made a $70 million investment in Huntington Beach, Calif.-based BJ’s Restaurants Inc.
At the end of Cava's first quarter on April 16, it had 263 restaurants.
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