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In the span of two weeks, Premium Service Brands acquired 67-unit The Grout Medic and 36-unit House Doctors, bringing its portfolio to nine brands. CEO of tile cleaning franchise The Grout Medic, JC Timmons, plans to stay on with the brand to ensure a smooth transition. Cincinnati-based House Doctors was founded in 1995 and provides services to homeowners such as home repair and light remodeling projects. CEO Jim Hunter will continue to run House Doctors, and all current Handyman Pro franchisees will transition into the House Doctors system as a result of the deal. Other brands under PSB’s umbrella include kitchen-remodeling brand Kitchen Wise, painting brand 360° Painting, cleaning brand Maid Right, outdoor surface cleaning brand Renew Crew, home-repair brand Handyman Pro, junk removal franchise Rubbish Works and garage-door services brand ProLift Garage Doors.

Launch Entertainment, a franchisor of year-round family entertainment centers, has attracted an investment from Silver Oak Services Partners, a private equity firm based in Evanston, Illinois that’s focused on business, healthcare and consumer services. Founded in 2012 by Rob and Erin Arnold in Rhode Island, Launch started as an indoor trampoline park and morphed into an entertainment center with ninja courses, climbing walls, laser tag, bowling and more that has 29 parks open in 13 states. Since the investment from Silver Oak, Launch has bolstered its team with multiple management hires and completed four acquisitions of corporate parks. In a statement, CEO Rob Arnold said they plan to continue acquiring other complementary family entertainment concepts in addition to franchise and corporate development.

In another tile and grout deal, Threshold Brands—a portfolio company of The Riverside Company—bought Sir Grout, a hard surface restoration company that has 45 locations across 16 states and the District of Columbia. This marks multi-brand franchisor Threshold’s first grout and tile cleaning company, which fits into their home services collection of brands. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Georgia-based Sir Grout, advised by Boxwood Partners during the transaction, was founded by Jeff Gill and Tom Lindberg in 2004. The company joins Threshold’s umbrella which includes MaidPro, Men In Kilts, FlyFoe, Pestmaster Services, USA Insulation and Plumbing Heating Paramedics.

FAT Brands has officially acquired Twin Peaks from Garnett Station Partners in a $300 million deal, bringing FAT’s total to more than 2,100 franchised and corporate-owned stores. This marks the first “polished casual dining chain” to join FAT Brands, which consists of 14 other restaurants. The proceeds of $250 million in principal amount of new securitization notes funded the transaction, plus the issuance to the sellers of shares of Series B preferred stock. Founded in 2005 in a Dallas suburb of Lewisville, Twin Peaks has 82 locations in 25 states and is known as a classier, Hooters-esque bro-bar. The brand posted systemwide sales of $262.3 million in 2020, down 26.7 percent from 2019. Read more about how Twin Peaks’ turnaround attracted FAT’s offer.

Franchise Group bought Sylvan Learning in an all-cash transaction valued at about $81 million. Founded in 1979, Maryland-based Sylvan Learning is a chain of tutoring services that has more than 700 locations in 49 states, including more than 560 brick-and-mortar centers. Only six locations are corporate-owned. This deal follows Franchise Group's acquisition of Buddy's Home Furnishings last year. Franchise Group's portfolio also includes Pet Supplies Plus, American Freight and The Vitamin Shoppe, with a combined footprint of more than 2,600 units primarily located in the U.S. 

Canadian investment firm Launchlife International partnered with global esports technology company Esposure to launch an esports education franchise. The offering will be sold under the Esposure brand and will initially focus on the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Danny Martin founded Esposure in 2015 originally under the name Geekletes. He wants Esposure to increase access to esports, which he estimates is projected to grow 400 percent over the next six to seven years. This deal follows LaunchLife’s acquisition of STEM franchise Engineering for Kids last year. LaunchLife kept founder Dori Roberts at the helm while adding her to its executive team as vice president of youth education USA. The firm’s portfolio also includes School is Easy, Pitman Training, and Academy of Learning Career College.

Private equity firm Eagle Merchant Partners completed its acquisition of 345-unit Code Ninjas, marking its entry into the kids’ education space. This follows a minority investment Atlanta-based Eagle Merchant Partners made in the company last year, switched from an initial majority stake it planned earlier in 2020. At the time, Eagle Merchant partner and former IHOP franchisee Stockton Croft told Franchise Times this was because “a full majority investment would be tough for everyone to agree on valuation” after COVID-19 hit. Founded in 2016, Code Ninjas teach kids to code by building their own video games. The STEM brand has locations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and reached the 300-location milestone in less than five years of operation.

Honor Technology closed on $370 million in financing after its recent acquisition of the Home Instead. This round brings Honor’s value to more than $1.25 billion. The company plans to triple research and development with the funding and expand its technology and operations platform to Home Instead’s network of more than 1,000 franchisees. Here’s why Home Instead founders sold their $2.1 billion business after 27 years.  

Sola Salons bought eight units in the Sacramento market from former franchisee Sola Sacramento and is converting a former Blue Lion Salon Studios location in Denver, bringing its corporate portfolio up to 39 units. Three additional Blue Lion Salon Studio locations were bought by existing franchise owners in the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth area. Sola Sacramento was led by Aaron Ramsey, Lara Ramsey and Paul Kirby for the past 15 years. All nine new locations acquired by corporate will be managed by Jeremy Tebo, vice president of corporate operations, and his team. Established in 2004, Sola Salons ranked No. 260 on the Franchise Times Top 400 list this year and has more than 580 units.

Driven Brands closed an offering by subsidiaries of $450 million in fixed secured notes, priced at 2.8 percent over a seven-year span. This offering improved the weighted-average of Driven’s outstanding asset-backed notes to 3.7 percent, the company said. The transaction was structured as a whole business securitization through Driven Brands Funding and Driven Brands Canada Funding Corp. and represents the company’s ninth whole business securitization issuance. The money will be used to pay transaction-related fees and expenses, repay revolving credit facilities and used for future acquisitions. In January, Driven Brands raised $700 million in its initial public offering and sold nearly 32 million shares. The IPO set a couple of records, too, Franchise Times reported.

BurgerFi International has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings for about $161.3 million in stock and assumed debt. This deal will grow burger chain BurgerFi’s footprint to 177 restaurants systemwide and follows last December’s SPAC deal when BurgerFi went public through a merger with Opes Acquisition Corp. for $100 million. Fort Lauderdale-based Anthony’s was founded in 2002 and has 61 locations. Its owner, L Catterton—a consumer growth investment firm that manages more than $30 billion in assets—will become one of the largest shareholders of BurgerFi as a result of this deal, which is set to close in the fourth quarter of 2021. Julio Ramirez will remain brand CEO and president of BurgerFi, while Ian Baines will become CEO of the combined company and Patrick Renna will become president of Anthony’s.

Charlotte Delites sold 11 Dunkin’ restaurants in North Carolina to new franchisee Tasty Delites. The sale process began in 2019 prior to COVID-19, but they were unable to close the transaction because of the pandemic, said Larry Wright of Charlotte Delites. Unbridled Capital provided sell-side advisory to Charlotte Delites, marketing Unbridled’s first experience as a sell-side advisor in the Dunkin’ system.

Franchisee Pacific Bells, led by Tom Cook, bought four more Taco Bell restaurants in Mississippi and Arkansas from Woodland Bell. Woodland Bell is led by Dick Cahill, who is retiring after 45 years as a franchisee in the Yum system. Unbridled Capital provided sell-side advisory services. 

Eric Carlisle sold seven KFC restaurants in Indiana to existing franchisee KBP Foods. KBP Foods is led by Mike Kulp and Barry Dubin. Unbridled Capital advised Carlisle in the deal.

FGG Spa, the largest franchisee in the Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa network, acquired an additional six spas. FGG, run by Eric Danver and his children, closed the deal in June of three spas in the Phoenixville area of Pennsylvania and four New Jersey locations, all of which were bought from previous franchisees. This brings FGG's footprint to 33 locations, plus they signed an agreement to build five new spas in the Baltimore area.

Lee Fry Companies—led by Chicago real estate developers Lee and Karin Fry—has acquired an A&W in North Aurora, Illinois from a retiring franchisee. Lee Fry Companies' consultant Anthony DiMauro will oversee restaurant operations. Kevin Bazner, CEO of A&W, noted that the Midwest is A&W's "sweet spot" since many of the brand's first locations opened there, and plan to open more restaurants in the Chicago area over the next several years. Founded in 1919, A&W is known as America's oldest franchised restaurant chain and has 900 locations in the U.S. and Asia, all of which are owned by franchisees. 

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