Financing

Inspire Brands is apparently considering an IPO

The owner of Dunkin' and Arby's is in the early stages of discussions on an initial public offering that could value the company at $20 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Arby's
Arby's owner Inspire could go public late this year or early next. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Inspire Brands, which has been a popular target of IPO speculation almost from the day in 2018 that it was created with the Arby’s-Buffalo Wild Wings acquisition, is apparently considering just such a move.

The owner of Dunkin’ and Jimmy John’s is reportedly in early-stage discussions with potential advisers on an IPO, according to Bloomberg. Such an IPO would take place in late 2024 or 2025 and could value the Atlanta-based operator at $20 billion.

The IPO comes as Roark Capital, the Atlanta-based private equity firm that owns Inspire, is working to acquire Subway. That deal is reportedly waiting for approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

An IPO of Inspire, which could ultimately lead to Roark’s exit, may be one way to assuage regulatory concerns about the Subway deal.

In any event, Inspire has long been thought of as an IPO, anyway, and with the markets more favorable for restaurant companies of late, this could be a time for Inspire to go public.

That would also represent a return to the public markets of a handful of restaurant chains that either Roark or Inspire took private. Roark acquired Arby’s from Wendy’s in 2011, then turned that brand around.

Arby’s then took private Buffalo Wild Wings for $2.9 billion and a year later took private Sonic for $2.3 billion. The next year it acquired Jimmy John’s, already owned by Roark, and in 2020 Inspire bought Dunkin for $11.3 billion. That deal is the largest restaurant chain acquisition in U.S. history.

Two restaurant chains went public last year, including the fast-casual concept Cava. Several other brands are apparently considering initial public offerings, one of which, Panera Brands, has reportedly filed privately for an IPO.

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