Roark Capital-controlled Inspire Brands to acquire Sonic Corporation for $2.3B

Parent of Buffalo Wild Wings, Arby’s, Rusty Taco to acquire Sonic in multibillion dollar deal

The ink was still drying on the acquisition of Jamba Juice by Focus Brands, a wholly-owned Roark Capital subsidiary, when Inspire Brands, another Roark subsidiary, announced an agreement to acquire Sonic in a transaction valued at $2.3B. Inspire Brands is the parent of restaurant chains Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Rusty “R” Taco, and made the announcement September 25.

This new deal represents another big win for Roark Capital, a private equity investment company that has raised over $11B in its funds for investment, and has over 20 restaurant brands in its portfolio, in which it controls or has a minority stake. The Sonic transaction, approved unanimously by Sonic’s Board of Directors, will offer $43.50 in cash per share to shareholders, which represents a 19 percent premium over the stock’s price on September 24.

“This value-maximizing transaction validates the actions we have taken over the last year to grow traffic and improve sales while delivering differentiated offerings and superior guest service,” said Cliff Hudson, Sonic Corp. chief executive, in a statement.

Sonic Drive-In adds breakfast slingers: Eatery Pulse Streem
A Sonic Drive-In promo. Photo by Sonic.

Arby’s Restaurant Group completed the acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings in February and Atlanta-based Inspire Brands was then formed to leverage the efficiencies of scale and expertise created by the leadership of Roark and its brands’ executive teams.

“We’re excited to build on Sonic’s momentum as we leverage our combined expertise and capabilities to better serve guests, further support team members and franchisees and drive long-term growth,” said Paul Brown, chief executive of Inspire Brands.

Over time, Roark Capital has invested in over 65 brands with 32,000 locations, representing $32B in annual sales across multiple countries and territories.


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