Parent of Sonic, Arby’s to acquire Jimmy John’s

Jimmy John’s acquisition to make Inspire fourth largest U.S. restaurant company

Jimmy John Liautaud, founder and chairman, along with its Board, approved Jimmy John’s acquisition by Inspire Brands. The parent of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic, and Rusty Taco—Inspire—entered into an agreement to purchase the sandwich chain for an undisclosed amount September 25. A Roark Capital subsidiary, the parent of Arby’s has annual sales totaling more than $14B. Inspire will also become the fourth largest U.S. restaurant company after the Jimmy John’s acquisition closes.

Inspire Brands currently operates and franchises more than 8,300 restaurants across its brands. Based in Atlanta, Ga., Inspire said the deal should close by the end of October. Also, Roark has made investments in over 25 restaurant companies over the years. Furthermore, it has an interest in over 20 franchise restaurant brands.

Jimmy John’s becomes the latest addition to Roark Capital’s mammoth restaurant portfolio. The Champagne, Ill.-based quick-service chain operates and franchises over 2,800 units in 43 states. What’s more, Liautaud started Jimmy John’s in Charleston, Ill. in 1983. It then engendered a cult-like following.

Now, he transitions to the role of Board advisor. And with the Jimmy John’s acquisition, Inspire is also making management changes. James North becomes the deli chain’s president.


“We are excited to welcome the Jimmy John’s brand to Inspire and look forward to working with their team and franchisees to help the company achieve its next stage of growth,” said Paul Brown, co-founder and chief executive of Inspire Brands.

Article summary

Did Inspire acquire the Jimmy John’s chain?

Yes, Inspire Brands entered into an agreement to acquire the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain for an undisclosed amount. The September 25, 2019 deal to purchase Jimmy John’s also adds 2,800 stores to the 8,300 stores Inspire already operates or franchises. As the parent of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Rusty Taco and Sonic, Inspire becomes the fourth largest U.S. restaurant company by sales volume.

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