Jimmy John’s Sandwiches is being sold to Inspire Brands, adding a sandwich shop to the company that already owns Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic Drive-In.
Inspire Brands said it has a deal to acquire the chain that was unanimously approved by Jimmy John’s board, including founder Jimmy John Liautaud. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Liautaud will step down as chairman and become an adviser when the deal closes, Atlanta-based Inspire Brands said in a statement.
Jimmy John's has promoted its "freaky fresh" sandwiches and "freaky fast" delivery in ads for years. Its latest marketing includes a contest to give someone a house within a Jimmy John's deilvery zone, and includes the tagline "Because Sandwich," with ads from WorkInProgress. In 2018, it ran a campaign from FCB Chicago that highlighted the sandwich prep in its restaurants.
Liautaud had weighed the pros and cons of taking Jimmy John's public in the past. In a 2015 interview with Ad Age, he said he wasn't sure if he had the stomach for it. Now, in selling to Inspire Brands, which is majority owned by affiliates of Roark Capital, he has found a company that can continue to run the business out of the eye of public investors.