Inspire closes on Sonic acquisition

Inspire closes on Sonic acquisition

Deal lifts Arby’s-Buffalo Wild Wings parent to $12B in annual sales

Inspire Brands Inc. on Friday closed on its $2.3 billion acquisition of Sonic Corp., bringing a fourth brand into its portfolio and lifting its annual sales to more than $12 billion, the company said.

“We are thrilled to officially welcome Sonic to the Inspire family,” said Paul Brown, CEO of Atlanta-based Inspire, parent to the Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty Taco brands, in a statement.

Oklahoma City-based Sonic has more than 3,600 drive-in restaurants in 45 states and about $4.4 billion in annual systemwide sales, making it the largest brand in Inspire’s portfolio.

Inspire now spans 8,300 owned and franchised restaurants, including more than 3,400 quick-service Arby’s restaurants with $3.7 billion in annual systemwide sales. Buffalo Wild Wings has more than 1,250 casual-dining units and about $3.9 billion in annual systemwide sales. The company also owns the 26-unit quick-service Rusty Taco brand, acquired with its $2.9 billion Buffalo Wild Wings deal completed in February.

“Sonic and its franchisees have created one of the most successful and distinctive brands in the restaurant industry,” Brown said. “We look forward to helping further drive innovation and long-term growth at Sonic and across our growing family of brands.”

In November, Inspire announced Claudia San Pedro would lead the Sonic brand as president, a role she had held since January. On Friday, Cliff Hudson, former chairman and CEO, stepped down to serve as a senior adviser to Sonic until March 2019 “to help ensure a smooth transition.”

“Inspire’s commitment to strategic investments and culture of collaboration will significantly benefit our guests, team members and franchisees,” San Pedro said. “As part of the Inspire family of brands, Sonic is positioned for growth and to continue our 65-year track record of success.”

Inspire Brands is majority-held by affiliates of Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group, which also owns CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. (parent of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.), Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q and Focus Brands Inc. (franchisor of Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Schlotzsky’s).

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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