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The Deal Maker
Roark Capital Group’s Neal Aronson founded the private-equity company in 2011, using his expertise in franchising as a guide for where to invest. Roark is known for buying brands and holding on, rather than quick turnarounds, and it was in the headlines again in 2017.
Power List rank: No. 2
Known for: The biggest reverberations in the restaurant M&A space came when Roark’s Arby’s chain snapped up Buffalo Wild Wings for $2.9 billion. As B-Wild’s stock price softened due to weaker sales, Roark bought the chain for $157 per share, a 38 percent premium. That put more than 1,250 more locations under Roark’s umbrella, which also includes Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. operator CKE Restaurants. In July, the company bought Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. And in October, Roark took a minority stake in the Culver Franchise System.
What’s next: Could more restaurant buys be coming for Roark in 2018? It appears likely, as the firm is in the process of raising $7 billion, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.