Fast-casual chain could fetch up to $550M
According to Bloomberg, Apollo Global Management has put Qdoba up for sale. A few days ago, Qdoba Chief Executive Keith Guilbault notified franchisees, letting them know of the impending sale, per Restaurant Business Online. In an email reported by Bloomberg, Guilbault said, “Now, as Apollo explores a potential sale, it shows the health and strength of the Qdoba brand as we continue to focus on what we do best — creating flavor that our customers love and cultivating a culture that our team members enjoy every day.”
The sale comes nearly two years after Apollo acquired the chain from Jack in the Box for $305M. Bloomberg further reports that EBITDA has increased to $50M, a 25-percent year-over-year increase. Comparable sales have increased 4 percent. Qdoba could fetch up to $550M, including assumption of debt. These performance metrics make the Mexican-style chain quite attractive to potential buyers.
Qdoba Mexican Eats has more than 750 stores. At the heart of increased consumer interest in the brand is its culinary innovation. San Diego, Calif.-based Qdoba added Impossible meatless protein to its menu, nationwide, in April. It has also focused on limited-time offers and creative sauces, in addition to its Queso launch in 2016.
With Qdoba up for sale, it will have many callers. In a restaurant industry that has showed considerable appetite for consolidation, Qdoba is a prized find for a hefty buyer. Meanwhile, Tilman Fertitta, L Catterton, Inspire Brands, Brentwood Associates, and Cheesecake Factory have all made major investments in restaurant chains over the recent past. Furthermore, TGI Fridays will soon merge with a special acquisition company to go public again next spring.
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