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Let’s make a deal


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At our November 2012 Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in Las Vegas, 1,950 people attended—and it wasn’t for the blackjack tables. Transactions were going gangbusters, with financial advisory firms, franchisors, mulit-unit franchisees, lenders and private equity firms meeting to finalize the deals they were working on, and to ignite new ones for 2013. 

Many were trying to close financings and M&A deals before the clock turned to midnight on December 31. As one investment banker told me, “There was no time to stop and celebrate a closing, because we had to keep going on the next one.” They had whiteboards listing the pipeline of deals so they would all stay focused on just how much work had to be done in so little time. 

They couldn’t celebrate then, but we can now. Franchise Times is celebrating the efforts of these individuals with our first annual Franchise Times Dealmakers awards. We put together a panel of judges, solicited you, our readers, for nominations, and went from there. It really was more complicated than that, but what we wanted to do was show the interesting companies that are making fearless moves in franchising. 

Led by Managing Editor Beth Ewen, the Franchise Times Dealmakers process produced the stories that grace our cover, and coverage, this month: a Burger King franchisee who wrangled a concession from the franchisor that was unprecedented; an investment banker who during a two-year sabbatical spent time with the Franciscans in Eastern Europe, incorporating the philosophy into his firm; an ESOP buyout, complicating the end deal for one transaction; a South Korean-based franchisee buying a U.S.-based franchisor; and a selection of others that stand alone as an original. 

Said Dealmaker Dan Accordino, CEO of Burger King franchisee Carrols Corp. who’s been with the company 40 years, “Either I’d collect Social Security or I’d buy 278 restaurants.” Enough said. You’ll have to read the articles to understand the philosophy and struggles these dealmakers went through. 

Son Ben, now 24, wanted to close his own deal on a cell phone when he was 15. Husband Doug and I didn’t think he needed it. If he wanted one, we said at the time, he would have to buy it himself. Besides believing it was just plain frivolous for a 15-year-old to have a phone at the ready all day long, we felt it was a good life lesson about saving money for something you really, really want. Weren’t we such good parents?

We also thought we were excellent parents when, about three years later, we bought his younger brother, Sam, a cell phone—and Sam didn’t even ask for one. As a mom who worked outside the home, I had found it was convenient for me—getting ahold of Ben was easy and I could keep tabs on him from my desk. Hey, Doug and I wanted to keep track of our other kid, too.

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson
Publisher 
Mary Jo can be reached at 
612-767-3200 or at mlarson@franchisetimes.com

It seems that with each new stage of technology, a shiny device wows us with its appearance, then becomes integrated into our life and we can no longer imagine a time without it. (Who goes to bed with their iPad? Raise your hand!) Could it be that way for 3D printers?

You’ll have to check out Beth’s story on these amazing machines. It seems like something out of a sci-fi geek’s dreams—and now it’s a reality. Enter franchising: Two franchise brands are at the forefront of the effort to see if the technology can make a go of it. Need a new necklace for tonight’s cocktail party? Just push print. How about a steak for dinner? It’s possible. Yum!

We have it all covered for you this month. With our editorial staff and unique, can’t-put-it-down content, Franchise Times is not something a 3D printer, or anyone else for that matter, can reproduce. We’re an original, just like those Dealmakers. We also feature the definitive list of who’s who in the franchise legal landscape with our Legal Eagles coverage (we even have a Legal Eagles Hall of Fame); and a vet whose potty mouth got him into all sorts of trouble. 

 

P.S. Visit in person with the Franchise Times Dealmakers at our Franchise Finance & Growth Conference coming up April 24-25 at The Four Seasons in Las Vegas. Go to here to register. Be there and we’ll toast. And we’ll also learn a thing or two along the way from them.

 

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