Wendy’s sells 49 locations
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."
Cracker Barrel rejects shareholder request for sale
Lebanon, Tenn. — Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc has considered and rejected a recent filing and statement from top shareholder Sardar Biglari demanding that the company commence a sale process. Cracker Barrel has determined that the continued execution of the company’s existing business strategy is currently the proper course of action for the long-term best interests of the company and its shareholders.
Through Biglari Holdings, Biglari owns 19.9% of Cracker Barrel. He has previously said the company’ earning power is too low and on Dec. 24 said he is in discussions with an investment bank to finance a buyout bid.
“We are disappointed that Mr. Biglari is seeking to call a special meeting to vote on a proposal requesting that the company commence a sale process, particularly in light of his defeat by substantial margins in three consecutive proxy contests,” said James W. Bradford, chairman of the board of Cracker Barrel. “Cracker Barrel’s board of directors continues to believe that the execution of management’s existing business strategy will create the most value for all shareholders. The board regularly evaluates all options to serve the best interests of the Company and its shareholders and will continue to do so.”
SnackWell’s finds new home with Brynwood
Mondelez Global sold its SnackWell’s brand cookie and snacks business to the Back to Nature Foods Company, a joint venture between Brynwood Partners VI and Mondelez.
Brynwood VI and Mondelez Global formed the Back to Nature joint venture in 2012 through a structure whereby Brynwood VI acquired operating control and Mondelez Global retained a minority position in the new company.
"We look forward to owning the SnackWell’s brand and integrating it into our Back to Nature organization," said Vincent Fantegrossi, president and CEO of Back to Nature. “Its healthy attributes, loyal consumer base, and strong distribution make SnackWell’s a very complementary product line offering to our Back to Nature products. SnackWell’s is an iconic brand and we are excited about the potential that this acquisition brings to our company. SnackWell’s significantly increases our scale in the important cookie and cracker categories."
Brynwood, founded in 1984, is an operationally-focused private equity fund that makes control investments in North American based lower middle market companies in the consumer sector. With the acquisition of SnackWell’s, Brynwood Partners has now acquired 39 corporate brands from 15 different sellers. The SnackWell’s transaction marks the firm’s second deal with Mondelez Global in addition to two others with Kraft Foods, the predecessor company of Mondelez Global.
Some of Brynwood Partners other investments have included brands such as Zest brand soap, Turtle chocolate, TrueNorth nut clusters,Salted Nut Roll, Bit-O-Hoeny, Lightlife meat alternative and Balance Bar