NEW YORK - The Subway sandwich chain is near a deal to be acquired for more than $9 billion in a transaction that could be announced as soon as Wednesday, a person familiar with the matter said.
Bids for the sandwich chain were due Tuesday, the person said, with competing offers from Roark Capital and a consortium that includes private equity firms TDR and Sycamore.
The winner is expected to be the high bid in an all-cash deal.
Originally founded in 1965 as an Italian-style submarine sandwich shop, Subway today has nearly 37,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.
The fast-food chain announced in February it hired JPMorgan to advise it on a possible sale, while saying it "remains committed to the future," according to a February 14 press release.
A Subway spokesperson said Tuesday there would be no comment "until the transaction has been completed," according to an email to AFP.
Atlanta-based Roark is well-known in the fast-food and prepared foods space, already owning Buffalo Wild Wings, Baskin-Robbins and Seattle's Best Coffee, as well as other assets including Orange Theory gyms.
Roark "has shown that it knows how to nurture restaurant brands and help them to grow, including through expansion," said Neil Saunders of GlobalData Retail.
New York-based Sycamore and British firm TDR Capital also have investments in the consumer space.
TDR declined comment. Roark and Sycamore did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Subway was launched with a single sandwich shop in Connecticut by Fred DeLuca, who started with an initial $1,000 investment from family friend Peter Buck, as a way to pay his college tuition.
The two men famously started the venture based only on a handshake. DeLuca died in 2015, while Buck passed away in 2021.
In recent time, Subway executives have highlighted cost-cutting efforts to better compete with other restaurant chains, while focusing most growth efforts overseas.
In June, Subway unveiled a franchising agreement to open some 4,000 restaurants in mainland China over the next 20 years.