After three years of their chains operating as a single company, the Wendy's franchise recently sold 81.5 percent of their stake in the Arby's franchise for $431 million, keeping the remainder of what had been "Wendy's/Arby's Group."
The buyer is Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm based in Atlanta, named for a character in an Ayn Rand novel. Roark is run by Neil Aronson, who got into the franchise business as co-founder of U.S. Franchise Systems with his father-in-law, Mike Leven.
The purchase of Arby's is a continuation of Roark's record of investing in the food and restaurant and specialty retail sectors. Its other food businesses includes Focus Brands, which owns Carvel Ice Cream franchise, Cinnabon franchise, Auntie Anne's franchise and Schlotzky's Deli franchise. It has also invested in environmental services, including waste management, such as WastePro.
The Arby's deal is easily the biggest in Roark's ten-year history. But the growth of its previous brands suggests to Arby's customers that their favorite chain is in good hands following the "divorce" from Wendy's.