Planet Fitness signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sunshine Fitness, a top franchisee in its system with 114 gyms in a cash and stock transaction valued at $800 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022. Sunshine Fitness was the first franchisee in the Planet Fitness system and was backed by TSG Consumer Partners since 2017. Its 114 units are located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, and will be combined into the company-owned portfolio which is predominantly in the Northeast. Shane McGuiness is the co-founder and CEO of Sunshine Fitness and has been an owner and operator in Planet Fitness for nearly 20 years. After closing, McGuiness will oversee operations of the combined corporate portfolio of 200 stores, which makes up about 10 percent of its total system. The deal will bolster the geographic diversity of the company’s corporate portfolio in markets primed for future store development, noted Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau.
Los Angeles-based franchise operator Tasty Chick’n bought 90 franchised KFC restaurants across eight states, including 15 KFC/Taco Bell combined locations. The units were sold by Fowler Foods, led by franchisee Chris Fowler, and are located in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee. This is the second deal for Tasty Chick’n in the Yum Brands system, following its July 2021 acquisition of 21 Dunkin’ stores. Tasty Chick’n is part of Tasty Restaurant Group, a restaurant management group affiliated with private-equity firm Triton Pacific Capital Partners. Tasty Restaurant Group manages nearly 370 quick-service restaurants in 16 states including Pizza Hut, Burger King, Dunkin’, Baskin-Robbins, KFC and Taco Bell. Unbridled Capital provided sell-side advisory services to Fowler Foods. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Premium Service Brands acquired Rooter-Man and its 750 territories in its largest acquisition to date, bringing PSB’s total footprint to more than 1,000 locations. This follows PSB’s acquisitions of House Doctors and Grout Medic in fall of 2021. Headquartered in Billerica, Massachusetts, Rooter-Man is a drain-cleaning and plumbing franchise with more than 125 franchisees operating 750 territories in the U.S. and Canada, which has been owned and operated by Donald MacDonald since 1970. Rooter-Man is the tenth brand in the PSB portfolio and joins 360° Painting, Maid Right, ProLift Garage Doors, Handyman Pro, Kitchen Wise, Rubbish Works and Renew Crew. The home services franchisor concurrently reported a 55 percent increase in year-over-year systemwide sales.
Related: Why Home Service Brands Are Hot Commodities
Youth Athletes United added Little Rookies Baseball to its rapidly-growing youth sports portfolio, expanding its reach to 291 territories in the U.S. This marks the fifth brand under the YAU umbrella. Little Rookies Baseball—formerly Little Rookies prior to the acquisition—joins Soccer Stars, Amazing Athletes, TGA Premier Sports and JumpBunch. Little Rookies Baseball, a baseball training brand for children ages 2 through 6, will focus on the 4 to 6 age range in 2022, similar to the target market for Soccer Stars and Amazing Athletes, and will be offered in the six existing operating territories of Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, San Diego, Los Angeles and Miami. This deal bolsters YAU’s reach to more than 200,000 children instructed, inching YAU closer to its goal of impacting one million children every year. James Silva, who served as president of Little Rookies for more than two years, will serve as director of operations for Little Rookies Baseball. YAU’s goal for Little Rookies Baseball is to expand to 25 to 30 states in the next three years.
Horse Power Brands, which recently acquired Mighty Dog Roofing and Blingle, bought spray foam insulation company iFoamTM and plans to award 100 franchise territories by the end of 2022. This is a similar approach Horse Power took when it acquired its first brand, emerging roof repair and replacement franchise Mighty Dog Roofing, in 2020. It promptly launched development the next year and awarded 183 territories to 48 franchisees across 18 states. Horse Power, founded in 2019 by Josh Skolnick and Zach Beutler, bought 20-year-old Heroes Holiday Lighting fall of 2021 and rebranded it to Blingle.
Authority Brands acquired Color World Housepainting and its 20 franchise locations across the U.S. This marks the ninth brand addition for Authority Brands since October 2018 and the company’s eleventh brand in its home services portfolio, which has a combined footprint of more than 1,900 territories operated by more than 1,000 franchisees. Founded in 1997 by Tom Hodgson, Color World is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, and provides a myriad of services including interior and exterior painting, power washing, carpentry and drywall repair, staining, gutter installation and holiday lighting services. Color World joins America’s Swimming Pool Company, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, The Cleaning Authority, DoodyCalls, Homewatch CareGivers, Mister Sparky, Monster Tree Service, Mosquito Squad, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning and Stop Restoration. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Boxwood Partners provided sell-side advisory services to Color World during the transaction.
NextPoint Financial, the special purpose acquisition company or SPAC that merged Liberty Tax with LoanMe last year, will add tax debt resolution to its suite of services with its acquisition of Chicago-based Community Tax. This positions NextPoint as one of the largest tax debt settlement companies in the U.S., according to Liberty Tax CEO Brent Turner. Community Tax was founded in 2010 and has offices in Chicago, Jacksonville, Florida, and Puerto Rico. NextPoint was formed through the $243-million merger of Liberty Tax and LoanMe that closed on July 2.
Related: Liberty Tax Settles Lawsuit Against Founder John Hewitt, ATAX
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, sold its portfolio company HomeVestors of America to global investment management firm Bayview Asset Management. HomeVestors, ranked No. 64 on the Franchise Times Top 400 list, is known for its slogan “We Buy Ugly Houses” and has more than 1,100 locations, all of which are owned by franchisees. The real estate investment franchisor, which was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Dallas, grew systemwide sales 30.6 percent in 2020. This marks LLCP’s seventh exit in the last year, following West Academic, Best Lawyers, Caring Brands, FlexXray, Trinity Consultants and Nothing Bundt Cakes.
The Riverside Company’s latest investment is in MilliCare, a floor and textile care franchise brand from Milliken & Company. This is an add-on investment to Riverside’s Clintar platform, which focuses on franchisors in the commercial property maintenance and cleaning services industries. MilliCare will transfer more than 30 franchise owners and 40 locations to Riverside’s portfolio. Milliken will continue to manufacture and supply proprietary carpet dry cleaners and care solutions to Millicare. Riverside launched Threshold Brands last year as an umbrella company targeting trade services franchises, such as MaidPro, FlyFoe, Men in Kilts, Pestmaster and USA Insulation.
Noodles & Company will sell 15 company-owned units to California franchisee Warner Foods. Noodles & Company also recently signed a 55-unit restaurant deal with Warner Foods, which already operates more than 150 Jack in the Box, Black Bear Diner and Panera Bread restaurants. Warner Foods, which will operate as NorCal Noodles, is the exclusive franchise partner for the state of California and will develop 40 new restaurants in the next 12 years, plus refranchise 15 company-owned stores as part of the agreement.
United Real Estate has merged with Houston-based Texas United Realty. Founded in 2009, Texas United Realty’s 750 agents will be added to United Real Estate’s platform and will together comprise one of the largest independently owned brokerages in Houston. This merger follows United Real Estate’s additions of Charles Rutenberg Realty Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta-based Virtual Properties Realty and Benchmark Realty based in Nashville.
Parkland Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to buy M&M Food Market, along with more than 2,300 locations including more than 300 Canadian M&M Express units. Parkland plans to grow M&M’s footprint in Canada while expanding into new international markets, including the U.S. The M&M brand, leadership, franchise system and store network will remain the same. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.
Founders Table Restaurant Group, parent of Chopt Creative Salad Company and Dos Toros Taqueria, attracted a significant investment from Pendulum in its latest capital raise. Pendulum joins L Catterton, Founders Table’s largest shareholder. Strategic growth investment firm Pendulum was co-founded by D’Rita and Robbie Robinson in 2019 and focuses on investing in businesses owned by diverse entrepreneurs. Chopt acquired Dos Toros Taqueria in January 2020 in a deal funded by L Catterton, which formed Founders Table Restaurant Group.
Brinker International, parent company of Chili’s, bought back 37 restaurants from franchisee Quality Dining. The deal closed in October, and terms were not disclosed. The Chili’s restaurants are located in six states, including Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Quality Dining is based in Indiana and also operates close to 150 Burger King restaurants. This deal follows Brinker’s acquisition of 23 franchised Chili’s restaurants in September 2021 from its franchisee Chesapeake Foods, which has been a franchisee of the chain for 37 years, and its 2019 acquisition of 116 units from franchisee ERJ Dining, run by former NBA player Junior Bridgeman. Dallas-based Brinker is also the franchisor for Maggiano’s Little Italy, which has more than 50 restaurants.
Applebee’s franchisee SSCP Management acquired 12 more stores in Virginia from Apple Investors Group, expanding SSCP’s footprint to 80 Applebee’s units and total portfolio to about 400 stores across 25 states. SSCP also owns 46 Sonic Drive-Ins, the Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion brand and the Cici’s Pizza brand, which it purchased in the spring of 2021 in partnership with Anand Gala’s Gala Capital Partners. SSCP is a family-owned business started and led by Sunil Dharod, a Dallas businessman. His son Chris Dharod is president and daughter Puja Dharod is principal and director.
Burger King franchisee Rackson Restaurant Group, led by Chris Johnson, bought 17 more units in Northern Ohio from Franchise Operations, led by Mike Showalter. Ron Johnson founded Rackson in 2013 in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and operates more than 50 Burger Kings and a Popeyes restaurant. Unbridled Capital provided sell-side advisory services to Franchise Operations.
Franchisee SC Food Group sold 13 KFC restaurants in Oklahoma and Kansas to Schoenhofer Enterprises. Unbridled Capital provided sell-side advisory services.
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