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Bob’s Discount Furniture to be acquired by Bain Capital

BY Dan Berthiaume

Manchester, Conn. — Bob’s Discount Furniture has signed a definitive agreement to sell a majority stake of its business to Bain Capital for an undisclosed amount. Bob’s management team will continue to own a "significant stake" after the deal and will remain involved in operations, according to the company, which has been majority owned by private equity firm KarpReilly/Apax for the past nine years.

Bob’s Discount Furniture operates 47 stores in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. It will enter the Philadelphia market in February 2014.

“We are thrilled to partner with Bain Capital, a firm that has been investing in great retail businesses and consumer brands for decades,” said Ted English, CEO of Bob’s Discount Furniture, who will continue to lead the company. “Bain Capital brings the experience and resources we need to support our continued expansion to serve more customers in more places, and to provide opportunities for advancement for our people."

The A Merrill Lynch is serving as financial advisor, and Ropes & Gray LLP is acting as legal counsel, to Bob’s Discount Furniture. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel, and PwC LLP is serving as accounting advisor, to Bain Capital. Financing for the transaction is being provided by RBC and UBS. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2014 and details were not disclosed.

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Amazon adds one million new Prime members in third week of Dec.

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle — More than one million customers around the world joined the Amazon Prime membership program in the third week of December. The entire 2013 holiday season was the best ever for Amazon, with more than 36.8 million items ordered worldwide on Cyber Monday, or 426 items per second.

“Amazon Prime membership continues to grow, and we now have tens of millions of members worldwide,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “They benefit from all-you-can-eat free two-day shipping on millions of eligible items and our members have a voracious appetite. We are extremely grateful to our customers around the world and wish everyone the very best for the coming year."

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Wendy’s sells 49 locations

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dublin, Ohio — The Wendy’s Company has sold 30 locations Austin, Texas and another 19 in the Sacramento, Calif.-area in separate transactions. With the completion of the transactions, the company has now either sold or announced sales agreements for a total of 282 restaurants in 2013 as part of its System Optimization initiative.

The Austin restaurants have been sold to Haza Foods, LLC of Austin, Texas. Ali Dhanani is president and CEO of the organization, which also operates 31 Wendy’s restaurants in the greater Houston market and three in Waco/Temple, Texas.

The Sacramento area restaurants have been sold to Desmond Foods, L.P., a Wendy’s franchisee led by president and CFO Craig Horn. Desmond also operates 17 Wendy’s restaurants in the Fresno market along with seven in the San Francisco area.

Wendy’s announced plans in July to geographically concentrate its restaurant ownership through the sale of about 425 company-operated restaurants in 13 U.S. markets, primarily in the West. Restaurants are being sold to qualified operators on a market-by-market basis, with the completion of this process targeted by second quarter 2014.

As part of this initiative, Wendy’s previously announced the sale of or an agreement to sell the following markets: Kansas City, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle and St. Louis. Included in these agreements are specific plans to reimage certain restaurants in Wendy’s contemporary Image Activation restaurant design. They also include development plans for new restaurants.

As a result of system optimization, the company expects to generate a higher operating margin and stronger free cash flow, along with further enhancing the quality of its earnings with a more predictable revenue stream from a higher percentage of royalty and rental income.

"Ali Dhanani and Craig Horn are terrific operators with a strong customer orientation," Wendy’s president and CEO Emil Brolick said. "Both of their organizations understand the importance of operational excellence, have a strong balance sheet and are fully committed to restaurant reimaging. We know their teams will work diligently to further accelerate the growth of the Wendy’s brand in their respective markets."

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