Roark Capital’s $9.6 Billion Subway Acquisition Goes Through


Roark Capital finalized its $9.6 billion Subway acquisition last week, following a sales process that started last August and was delayed by a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) review.

“The entire Subway system is excited that our sale to Roark is complete,” John Chidsey, CEO of Subway, said in a statement. “As we look to our future, our growth journey is far from over. With a continued strategic focus on delivering better food and a better guest experience, our next chapter will be the most exciting yet.”

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Roark concerns

The FTC opened an investigation into the sandwich giant’s sale in November over concerns that Roark — which also owns Subway competitors Jimmy John’s, McAlister’s Deli, Arby’s, Carls Jr., Hardee’s and Schlotzky’s — was becoming too dominant in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) space. Federal regulators approved the deal last week after those FTC concerns were rectified.

A Subway spokesperson told Entrepreneur that there are no anticipated changes to the company’s leadership team with the acquisition and that “our brand will remain the Subway guests know and love.”

Related: Find Out Which Brands Have Ranked on the Franchise 500 for Longest, Earning a Spot In our New ‘Hall of Fame’

Franchise 500 comeback

Subway was once a juggernaut of franchise success, peaking at nearly 45,000 locations in 2016. But following the death of co-founder and president Fred DeLuca in 2015, Covid and the 2020s brought trouble. The chain has contracted about 10% over the past three years as franchisees struggled with higher costs and inflation, but the sandwich chain still boasts about 36,000 locations worldwide.

Once a mainstay in the Franchise 500 Top 10, Subway fell out of the rankings from 2021 to 2023. However, the brand returned to the 2024 ranking, coming in at number 199.

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