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Fat Brands acquires Smokey Bones for $30M

The 18th deal for the owner of Johnny Rockets and Twin Peaks gives the company another casual-dining chain.
Smokey Bones sale
Smokey Bones is being sold to the owner of Johnny Rockets. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Fat Brands apparently likes owning full-service restaurants.

The owner of Johnny Rockets and Twin Peaks on Monday said it has acquired the 61-unit Smokey Bones for $30 million from Sun Capital.

The acquisition of the Florida-based Smokey Bones is the 18th deal for Fat Brands, the Los Angeles-based company that also owns Fatburger, Fazoli’s, Great American Cookies, Round Table Pizza and several other chains. Fat Brands said it expects the Smokey Bones deal to increase its annual EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, by $10 million per year.

It is also another acquisition of a company-run system, following the 2021 deal Twin Peaks, which operates about one-third of its locations.

Smokey Bones operates all 61 of its locations. The chain last year generated $190 million in system sales. “We continue to be selective and opportunistic in our acquisition strategy, targeting brands that are both scalable and synergistic with our existing platform,” Rob Rosen, co-CEO of Fat Brands, said in a statement. Rosen suggested that Fat Brands would franchise the concept.

“We see great opportunity in being part of a leading global franchising company to further our growth with new franchised locations,” Hal Lawlor, president of Smokey Bones, said in a statement.

This is also the second acquisition Fat Brands has made from Sun Capital, from which it acquired Johnny Rockets in 2020 for $25 million.

This also signals a return to the deal market for Fat Brands, which has mostly remained out of the dealmaking business since acquiring nearly $1 billion worth of concepts in 2021—outside of a small deal last year for Nestle Toll House Café.

And it’s the first deal since Andy Wiederhorn, Fat Brands’ founder, stepped into the chairman role and ceded the CEO job to a combination of Rosen and CFO Ken Kuick. “As we have spent the year focusing on digesting past acquisitions, we’ve also been amplifying the explosive growth in our polished casual vertical,” Wiederhorn said in a statement.

Fat Brands has been preparing to take Twin Peaks public some time in 2024. The company has also indicated it would consider acquiring smaller concepts to convert to Twin Peaks locations.

Fat Brands said it funded the $30 million with existing debt. Kroll Investment Banking was advisor to Smokey Bones and Sun Capital.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to fix that Ken Kuick remains CFO and to clarify the corporate operations of Twin Peaks.

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