Craveable Brands — the owner of three Australian fast-food franchises including Oporto and Red Rooster – is now under foreign ownership, following its acquisition by a private equity group.
Sydney-based Craveable Brands owns the Oporto, Red Rooster and Chicken Treat franchise chains, which combined have 580 stores in Australia.
This is in addition to an expanding overseas network, with stores already operating in New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Singapore, and more planned for Vietnam and several countries in the Middle East.
Late on Friday (12 July), the announcement was made that PAG Asia Capital, the private equity arm of Hong Kong–headquartered investment company PAG, had acquired Craveable Brands for an undisclosed sum.
A Craveable Brands spokesperson suggested the sale price was confidential, declining to confirm or deny reports that the deal was worth around $500 million, or that its now previous owner, Sydney-based Archer Capital, had paid $450 million for the business when it assumed ownership in June 2011.
But asked to confirm whether the new ownership would lead to changes in the strategic direction of the business, the spokesperson told My Business that Craveable’s business strategy has the “full support” of its new owners.
“PAG is in full support of our business strategic future plans, which includes store roll-outs and refurbishment plans,” they said.
According to the joint statement announcing the buyout from Archer Capital and unnamed “minority shareholders”, Craveable Brands’ current management team will also remain in place.
CEO Brett Houldin labelled the new ownership a “new and exciting chapter” for the business.
“Archer has given us strong support over the last eight years, and we are now very excited to be partnering with PAG and benefitting from their wealth of experience and international connections,” Mr Houldin said.
Meanwhile, Weijian Shan, chairman and CEO of PAG, called the business a “terrific asset” with “significant scale”.
“We see great opportunities for Craveable and look forward to working with management on the next stage of portfolio innovation,” he said.
“PAG has a long track record of successful partnerships with established brands and franchisee networks, notably in our work with The Cheesecake Shop, and we look forward to supporting Craveable’s high-quality and dedicated franchisees as they grow their business.”
Archer Capital managing partner Peter Gold said that under its ownership, Craveable Brands has grown to achieve annual sales of around $800 million.
According to Archer Capital’s website, “over 95 per cent of the [Craveable Brands] store network is franchised”, with less than 5 per cent being company-owned.
Last year, Craveable Brands was forced to deny allegations of pushing franchisees to the brink of bankruptcy, following a submission made to the federal Fairness Franchising Inquiry.
That submission criticised an allegedly “poor business model”, which it said included an inefficient product acquisition process, expensive loyalty scheme and a “conflict of interest” within the business.
At the time, Craveable dismissed the allegations as “false assertions made by a small group of store owners”.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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