Atlanta-based Inspire Brands has reached a deal to acquire Jimmy John’s Sandwiches. Upon completion of the transaction, Inspire will be the fourth-largest restaurant company in the U.S. with more than $14 billion in annual system sales and more than 11,200 restaurants across 16 countries.
The agreement was unanimously approved by the Jimmy John’s board, including Founder and Chairman Jimmy John Liautaud. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 8,300 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In and Rusty Taco locations worldwide. Champaign-based Jimmy John’s opened its first restaurant in 1983 and operates 2,800 locations across 43 states.
“Jimmy John’s has found the ideal home at Inspire,” Liautaud said in a statement. “Inspire’s long-term approach, culture of innovation and commitment to helping brands grow sets it apart from the rest. I couldn’t be prouder of the company we’ve built, and I can’t wait to see what Jimmy John’s is able to accomplish under Inspire’s leadership.”
Inspire Brands Co-Founder and CEO Paul Brown added: “Jimmy John’s is a great fit for the Inspire family. What started in 1983 as a sandwich shop in a converted garage in Charleston, Illinois, has grown into a national, differentiated brand with a passionate fanbase. We are excited to welcome the Jimmy John’s brand to Inspire and look forward to working with their team and franchisees to help the company achieve its next stage of growth.”
At the close of the transaction, which is expected by the end of October, James North will serve as president of the Jimmy John’s brand, reporting to Paul Brown. Liautaud will step down as chairman and transition to an adviser to the brand.