Piece of Culver's is sold

The Culver family has agreed to sell a stake in its Culver’s burger chain to Roark Capital, the private-equity firm whose portfolio already includes Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Arby’s, Jimmy John’s and Moe’s Southwest Grill.

The family said it would retain a controlling interest in the franchise chain, and did not reveal what portion of the brand is being sold to Roark, nor the purchase price.

“For many years the Culver family has been discussing ownership succession planning with the desire to remain a family owned business, stay privately held and proceed with thoughtful estate planning,” said chain co-founder and Chairman Craig Culver.  “The sale of a minority interest in the company allows us to do so.”

He noted that the family does not intend to sell additional shares.

The announcement of the transaction specified that Culver would remain chairman of the company and Joseph Koss would stay as CEO, and that a board seat would be given to a Roark representative.

The deal scotches speculation that Culver's would be the next restaurant chain to go public.

Culver’s owns or holds the franchise rights to about 600 restaurants in 24 states. The chain is known for its Butterburgers—burgers served on buttered rolls—as well as frozen custard and cheese curds.

Roark is one of the largest and most active private-equity firms in the restaurant space, with all or portions of more than 20 restaurant brands in its fold. Its most recent prior investment was the purchase of the Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q chain.

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