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BurgerFi agrees to acquire 61-unit Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Purchase from L Catterton to create 177-unit restaurant company, while seller takes large stake in BurgerFi International

BurgerFi International agreed to acquire Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Wings from L Catterton for $161.3M. As part of the deal, L Catterton, a private equity firm based in Greenwich, Conn., will receive enough shares to become one of the largest shareholders of BurgerFi International, the operator and franchisor of BurgerFi restaurants, which is publicly traded on Nasdaq.

The transaction will be financed through the assumption of debt by L Catterton of $74.7M, and $33.6M in common stock and $50.3M in junior, non-convertible, preferred equity to the seller.

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza serves up “well-done” pizza in its 900-degree oven, coal-fired chicken wings, homemade meatballs, and a selection of handcrafted sandwiches and salads.

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Rationale for Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza acquisition

For BurgerFi, part of the attraction of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza is a simplified, on-trend, smaller-footprint concept and a compact offering. With a menu of 25 menu items or less, Anthony’s is envisioned by BurgerFi as a more-easily executable concept, with a more generous amount of legroom for for expansion, when compared to its peers.

The fast-casual burger chain is also operating a differentiated concept of its own with good growth potential, as BurgerFi has increasingly become a the proverbial diamond in the rough for investors. Over the recent past, the restaurant chain added new units across varying service systems: brick-and-mortar restaurants, ghost kitchens, drive-thrus, and a new “Fi on the Fly” food truck.

BurgerFi’s menu includes inventive burgers, like the Spicy Wagyu Burger, the CEO and Conflicted Burger, with natural Angus beef, chicken sandwiches, shakes and frozen custard.

The track record established by BurgerFi on several fronts created a deal that L Catterton, with $30B in assets under management, could not refuse.

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Founded in 2002, Anthony’s produces $2.3M on average in unit volume sales, with a check average of $39.15, $700 sales per square foot, and a store operating margin of 19%. The mix of alcohol is robust—nearly 16% pre-COVID, according to BurgerFi’s strategic analysis for the acquisition.

“We are well positioned to continue the growth of our existing BurgerFi brand and leverage our scale to unlock value from strategic acquisitions,” said Ophir Sternberg, Executive Chairman of BurgerFi. “We are looking forward to expanding our portfolio in the food industry and to the new chapters this will bring to both BurgerFi and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings.”

The 61-unit pizza chain’s EBITDA will be accretive to BurgerFi’s EPS in 2022. The combined company, therefore, will be able to generate cash flow and fund future growth, according to the analysis. For Anthony’s, The Roasted Wing virtual concept adds further potential for scaling, beyond its strong economics and small-footprint stores.

Post-acquisition momentum

“The willingness of a well-respected PE firm in the restaurant business like L Catterton to invest in BurgerFi is a testament to our growth potential. This combined entity will help fuel our aggressive growth plans for BurgerFi.” says Julio Ramirez, chief executive of BurgerFi. “Our aim is to work with innovative and forward-thinking teams and brands that align with BurgerFi’s goals and vision as we continue to expand and strengthen our platform in the restaurant industry.”

Anthony’s and BurgerFi systemwide locations will total 166. Julio Ramirez will remain brand chief executive and president of BurgerFi; Meanwhile Ian Baines will become chief executive of the combined company and Patrick Renna will become president of Anthony’s. Plus, L Catterton Managing Partner Andrew Taub will join BurgerFi’s Board of Directors.

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The purchase should close by the fourth quarter of 2021.

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