Roark Capital Group has completed its acquisition of a majority stake in CKE Inc., the Atlanta-based private-equity firm said Thursday, bringing the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains into its portfolio of 17 restaurant brands.

“We are pleased to welcome CKE's brands to our restaurant family,” Neal Aronson, Roark's managing partner, said in a statement Thursday.

“Led by CEO Andy Puzder, CKE is a well-run business with an excellent management team and passionate franchisees,” Aronson said. “We look forward to working with Andy and the team as they build on their success and continue to execute their strategic vision for Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.”

CKE chief executive Andy Puzder added that the company’s team looked “forward to working with Roark and leveraging their deep knowledge in restaurant operations and franchising,” and said the CKE management team would remain in place.

Roark, which announced the deal in November, is acquiring 3,413 restaurants in 42 states and 30 countries from funds managed by Apollo Global Management LLC. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE, which also owns the Green Burrito and Red Burrito brands, generates about $4 billion in annual system revenues, Roark said. Apollo took CKE private in 2010 in a deal valued at about $1 billion, and refinanced the company’s debt several times, including a $1 billion refinancing in April.

Roark said CKE’s annual systemwide sales rose 15 percent through the most recent quarter, ended Nov. 4.

The Carl's Jr./Hardee's system is 74-percent franchised, with international restaurants representing 16 percent of the system, the company said.

Roark Capital has a broad brand portfolio with an emphasis on franchised concepts, including Atlanta-based Arby’s, a quick-service competitor to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Other brands in Roark’s portfolio include Corner Bakery Café and sister chain Il Fornaio; Wingstop; McAlister’s Deli; and the various concepts under Focus Brands Inc., including Carvel Corp., Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Schlotzsky’s and Moe’s Southwest Grill. In July, Roark acquired the Miller’s Ale House chain.

Please contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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