Deal of the Year 2020

Last year's Franchise Times Deal of the Year featured Chicken Salad Chick, with co-founder Stacy Brown center left and CEO Scott Deviney center right, and investor Brentwood Associates.

Franchise Times today announces winners of the 2021 Franchise Times Dealmakers awards, the ninth annual project recognizing the boldest players driving mergers and acquisitions in franchising.

Award winners will be featured in the April issue of Franchise Times, when the 2021 Deal of the Year will also be revealed. A virtual awards presentation will highlight Franchise Times Dealmakers Week April 19-22, a new online forum featuring top dealmakers sharing their growth strategies.

DEALMAKERS OF THE YEAR 2021 (in alphabetical order)

Aurify Brands acquires Le Pain Quotidien USA's 50 restaurants out of bankruptcy, and subsequently buys U.S. assets of Maison Kayser. 

Eclipse RTO buys 99 corporate Rent-a-Center stores plus 10-store development deal, making Al Bhatka the largest franchisee in the system. 

FAT Brands buys Johnny Rockets from Sun Capital for $25 million, doubling FAT’s size and adding it to Fatburger plus multiple other brands in its portfolio. 

Inspire Brands buys Dunkin' Brands Group for $11.3 billion, with more than 20,000 Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins restaurants and $11.5 billion in systemwide sales. 

Taco Bell franchisee J.A. Sutherland and JAS Properties recapitalization led by Auspex Capital, including $26.5 million in new loan commitments for JAS. 

Local Marketing Solutions Group buys the assets of Money Mailer USA, the predecessor company that had ceased operations with its 100-plus franchisees told they were out of business. 

Quality Restaurant Group, backed by GenRock Capital Management, buys 62 stores from MVP Sonic and five more acquisitions with a value more than $150 million.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand buys the assets of Great American Chicken, the primary KFC franchisee in Los Angeles with 70 restaurants, advised by Unbridled Capital. 

Unbridled Capital rolls up four sellers to sell 67 Moe's Southwest Grill stores to Quality Restaurant Group, making Quality the largest Moe's franchisee. 

Yum Brands $400-million acquisition of Habit Burger Grill enables the next phase of growth for Habit and provides a long-term growth opportunity for Yum.

Zaxby's attracts Goldman Sachs Merchant Bank Division as a buyer, allowing Zach McLeroy to stay at the helm and partner Tony Townley to step away. 

The winners were selected by a panel of judges, all experts in franchise M&A, and staff members from finalist nominations solicited by Franchise Times in the fourth quarter.

Nominations for next year’s project open October 1, at www.franchisetimes.com, for deals completed between July 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021. Contact Senior Editor Beth Ewen, bewen@franchisetimes.com, with questions.

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