Sentinel Reveals 1st Franchise Buy of Year
Sentinel Capital’s founder David Lobel told this blogger in mid-January he was “close” to buying a franchisor, but he wouldn’t reveal who. He was true to his word.
Two weeks later the New York-based private equity firm announced it purchased Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, which operates about 800 Checkers and Rally’s locations.
“Finding good franchisors is something that is quite rare,” Lobel says in an interview published in the February issue of Franchise Times. “It doesn’t look like there’s a shortage of franchisors out there, but how many franchisors come up for sale in any given year? It’s a very small number.”
Lobel details his strategy for acquiring and selling companies, saying Sentinel is “ambidexterous” in its targets—it likes to acquire both franchisees and franchisors. Sentinel amassed $1.3 billion from investors last year in its latest fund, Sentinel V, after spectacular exits, most famously Massage Envy in 2012.
The seller is Wellspring Capital Management, which put Checkers on the market in 2012 after it purchased the company in 2006.