FAT Brands — global franchising company and owner of Fatburger, Hurricane Grill & Wings and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses — announced its intention to acquire Los Angeles-based burger chain Johnny Rockets from private equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. for approximately $25 million. The deal, which is expected to go though in September, will bring the total number of FAT Brands franchised and company-owned restaurants to 700 internationally, with annual sales of $700 million. With the sale of the brand, George Michel — who was named CEO of Johnny Rockets in September 2019 and is also at the helm of Wilbraham, Mass.-based family dining chain Friendly's — will not be returning to the company as CEO. Instead, FAT Brands president and CEO Andy Wiederhorn will be taking over as CEO, as he has for all of the FAT Brands acquisitions.
“FAT Brands is delighted to carry the torch from the affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., a global private equity leader with deep investment and operational experience, and run hard,” Wiederhorn said in a statement. “Similar to Fatburger, Johnny Rockets got its start in Los Angeles, and we couldn’t be more pleased to add another true staple in our home city to our portfolio. This acquisition is a transformative event for FAT Brands in terms of scale and brand awareness. We see a lot of synergy with Johnny Rockets and our current restaurant concepts and we are eager to take the brand to new heights.”
This is not the only casual burger chain FAT Brands has acquired recently. In 2019, the company bought Fall Hills, Va.-based Elevation Burger for $10 million.
During the acquisition, Duff & Phelps served as financial advisor to Sun Capital Partners, Inc. and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP acted as legal counsel to Sun Capital Partners, Inc., Loeb & Loeb LLP acted as legal counsel to FAT Brands and Andersen Tax LLC served as tax advisor to FAT Brands Inc.
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