Financing

Blackstone is said to be pursuing a purchase of Jersey Mike's for around $8B

The sandwich chain is reportedly open to a deal with the private equity firm or another suitor, according to media reports, though talks have cooled more recently.
An $8 billion price tag has been hung on the brand. | Photo: Shutterstock

The investment giant Blackstone has been in discussions with Jersey Mike’s about buying the sandwich chain at a potential valuation of $8 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. 

Jersey Mike’s would neither confirm nor deny that it’s held discussions with Blackstone, but chain CEO and owner Peter Cancro revealed to Restaurant Business last June that he was starting to think about a sale of the brand.

At the time, Cancro said he’d noticed the sky-high valuations that other fast-food chains had been given by Wall Street and private-equity companies. Cava had just garnered $2.5 billion in a public stock offering, and Subway, an arch-rival of Jersey Mike’s, was looking for a buyer willing to spend at least $8 billion. Roark Capital, the private equity firm that owns Buffalo Wild Wings parent Inspire Brands, eventually agreed to buy Subway for $9.6 billion.

Cancro said Jersey Mike’s numbers surpassed the financial metrics for both those chains and Jimmy John’s, the sandwich brand that Inspire had acquired earlier for $2.3 billion.

The Journal, citing anonymous sources, described the discussions between Blackstone and Jersey Mike's as “on-and-off.” 

The article said negotiations between Blackstone and Jersey Mike’s had cooled, but asserted the sandwich chain is still open to a deal, either with the private equity firm or another suitor. 

The story also indicated that Cancro, 66, may not sell to anyone. His daughter, son and wife are active in the business.

Visited in the southern New Jersey offices of Jersey Mike’s in early March, or roughly three weeks before the Journal piece, Cancro told Restaurant Business that there was nothing new to report about the possibility of a sale.

Cancro has been involved with Jersey Mike’s since he was 14, working in the original store with his brother, John. He acquired what was then a single-unit operation at age 17, using a loan from his high school football coach.

He remains deeply immersed in the chain’s day-to-day operations, though he now splits his time between a residence in New Jersey and a home in Florida.

In airing the possibility of a sale last year, Cancro mentioned that he would remain active in the chain, but cited the possibility of devoting more of his time afterward to Jersey Mike’s extensive charitable activities. Last month the chain raised $25 million for about 200 local charities during what the brand calls the Month of Giving. Included is the Day of Giving, when all 2,700 units in the chain donate all their sales to charitable groups.

Jersey Mike’s systemwide sales totaled $3.4 billion last year, a 25% increase over the 2022 tally, according to the research firm Technomic.

Blackstone is one of the nation's largest investment firms. Its holdings include stakes in a number of restaurant chains. The company could not be reached for comment prior to this story's posting. 

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