Possible buyers for CKE Restaurants Inc. are emerging, and private-equity firm TriArtisan Capital Partners leads with a deal approaching $2 billion, according to a Reuters report Monday.
Citing unnamed sources, the report said Roark Capital Group, Carlyle Group LP and Onex Corp. have also shown interest in an auction for Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE, which operates or franchises 3,381 restaurants under the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands, as well as secondary co-brands Green Burrito and Red Burrito.
CKE officials did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Earlier this year, Reuters reported that CKE owner Apollo Global Management LLC had hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to explore a possible sale. While the report indicated that a deal with TriArtisan Capital was in its final stages, it also noted that discussions could still fall apart and Apollo could pursue other options.
According to Reuters, TriArtisan Capital is a unit of investment bank Morgan Joseph. TriArtisan and Apollo have worked together on other investments, including co-investments in retailer Claire’s in 2007 and Linens ’n Things in 2005.
The moves come after CKE registered for an initial public offering last year that aimed to raise as much as $230 million. By August, however, the company put the IPO on hold, citing market conditions.
In April, CKE completed a $1 billion debt refinancing, with Morgan Joseph TriArtisan a co-book runner for an offering of $200 million in senior payment-in-kind toggle notes, according to the firm’s website.
Within the restaurant space, Morgan Joseph TriArtisan served as advisor for Crumbs Bake Shop’s merger with 57th Street General Acquisition Corp., which took the cupcake chain public in 2011. The firm also served as an advisor when Buffet Partners LP changed hands in 2006, and on the sale of Barnhill’s Buffet Inc. in 2005.
Apollo affiliate Columbia Lake Acquisition Holdings Inc. took CKE private in 2010 in a deal valued at about $1 billion.
CKE reported revenues of $1.3 billion for its Jan. 31-ended fiscal year, an increase of 3.6 percent over the prior year, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the year were expected to be between $195 million and $197 million.