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High Bluff Capital, with FS Investments’ funds, to buy Church’s Chicken from FFL Partners

Acquisition supported by alternative investment funds managed by FS, including FS Tactical Opportunities Fund

High Bluff Capital Partners, together with investment funds managed by FS Investments, has agreed to buy Church’s Chicken from FFL (Friedman Fleischer & Lowe) Partners. The acquisition of 1,500-unit Church’s Chicken is supported by alternative investment funds managed by FS, including the FS Tactical Opportunities Fund.

FFL Partners had acquired Church’s from Arcapita in 2009.

Church’s Chicken restaurants generate approximately $1.2B in systemwide sales annually. The chain plans to open 100 new locations in 2021, including new storefront designs in line with the Blaze Image concept store.

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High Bluff Capital acquired Quiznos and Taco Del Mar in 2018, creating the Rego Restaurant Group. Recently, tThe firm has focused on these brands—exclusive restaurant holdings in its portfolio until now—driving significant menu innovation, and bolstering Rego’s marketing and branding efforts to upgrade the guest experience.

“At a time when the entire restaurant industry has faced unprecedented challenges, Church’s has stood out as a notable bright spot, having emerged from the pandemic with considerable tailwinds that strongly position the brand for tremendous growth geographically as well as in the overall chicken category,” said Anand Gowda, founder of High Bluff Capital Partners. “Our investment strategy continues to center on identifying brands with long-term connections with consumers that can be energized and propelled to greater success through targeted industry expertise, operational efficiencies, innovation and creative brand management.”

Rushabh Vora, managing director at FS Investments, supported the acquisition with an investment from the FS Tactical Opportunities Fund and other affiliated investment funds.

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Vora commented, “With the global chicken QSR market forecasted to grow meaningfully over the next few years, and major geographies such as China and Australia still yet to be tapped by Church’s, we see exciting growth potential for this beloved brand.”

The acquisition should be completed in the third quarter of 2021. Terms of the transaction were not immediately disclosed.

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