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Friendly’s plans to sell itself to Amici Partners Group via bankruptcy proceeding

Sale to Souper Salad chain owner could be completed this year

FIC Restaurants, the company operating as Friendly’s, has agreed to sell itself in a bankruptcy proceeding to Amici Partners Group, LLC. After having its brand revival plan interrupted by COVID-19, the chain will file a petition for bankruptcy protection under chapter 11, which executives say will facilitate the sale to Amici. Friendly’s expects to be able to transfer all 130 of its stores to the restaurant group.

Amici is affiliated with BRIX Holdings, which operates and franchises the Red Mango Yogurt Café Smoothie & Juice Bar, Smoothie Factory Juice Bar, RedBrick Pizza Kitchen Cafe, and Souper Salad chains.

Friendly’s reorganization plan and sale is subject to approval by the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Throughout the proceedings, Friendly’s management projects sufficient cash flow to continue operating and supporting its franchisees and employees, in addition to paying vendors.

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Prior to the pandemic, the Wilbraham, Mass.-based family-dining chain, well-known for its ice cream and sundaes, had made progress in its revitalization by revamping marketing and refreshing its menu, suggested George Michel, FIC chief executive. He added that Friendly’s had begun working more closely with franchisees and restaurant teams.

Friendly’s had previously gone through Chapter 11 in 2011.

A hearing is expected in mid-December. If the bankruptcy filing is approved, the closing of the sale to Amici may occur concurrently or soon afterward. Moreover, the restaurant chain announced it would retain nearly all employees.

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Michel added, “We believe the voluntary bankruptcy filing and planned sale to a new, deeply experienced restaurant group will enable Friendly’s to rebound from the pandemic as a stronger business, with the leadership and resources needed to continue to invest in the business and serve loyal patrons, as well as compete to win new customers over the long-term.”

During the proceedings, Womble Bond Dickinson LLP is providing legal counsel to Friendly’s. And Duff & Phelps serves as investment banker, while Carl Marks Advisors is financial advisor.

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Photo credit: Friendly’s (featured preview image)

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