Roark Capital Group
Founder & Managing Partner
|Headquarters||Atlanta, Georgia, United States|
|Total assets||$3 billion|
Roark Capital Group is an American private equity firm focused on leveraged buyout investments in middle-market companies primarily in consumer and business services companies. Roark has historically focused on the franchise, food and restaurant, specialty retail, environmental services, waste management, and marketing services sectors. The firm is named for Howard Roark, the fictional protagonist in Ayn Rand's novel, The Fountainhead.
The firm, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia, was founded in 2001 by the current Managing Partner, Neal Aronson. Prior to founding Roark Capital Group, Aronson was a co-founder of U.S. Franchise Systems (USFS), which was headed by Aronson's father-in-law, Mike Leven, and established to buy Microtel, a hotel chain then headquartered in Rochester, NY. USFS shortly thereafter also bought the franchising rights to Hawthorne Suites and later added the economy conversion brand, Best Inns (which later became America's Best Inns after USFS was bought out by Hyatt in 2000). Roark has raised approximately $3 billion since inception across three institutional private equity funds. The firm raised its first institutional fund in 2005 with $413 million. The firm's second fund was closed in 2008 with $1 billion of investor commitments. The firm's third institutional fund was closed in 2012 with $1.5 billion of investor commitments. Prior to its first fund, Roark raised capital on an as-needed basis, investing approximately $150m in seven companies from 2001 through 2005.
Roark has acquired 25 businesses from the entrepreneurs who founded them and has invested in 21 franchise brands that together have generated more than $9 billion in system sales and have 45,000 points of distribution in all 50 U.S. states and 60 countries around the world.
Roark's portfolio companies include:
- Atkins Nutritionals
- Batteries Plus
- Focus Brands
- Il Fornaio
- Massage Envy - Acquired 9/27/2012
- McAlister's Deli
- PetValu and Bosley's Petstores
- Primrose Schools
- Simply Floored
- Waste Pro
- US Roark Capital Group closes first institutional private equity fund on $413m. AltAssets, March 1, 2005
- Roark closes second private equity fund on $1bn. AltAssets, February 4, 2008
- Equity Firm Buys Controlling Stake In Carvel. New York Times, December 11, 2001
- New Roark Capital Screams Ice Cream. Reuters Buyouts, January 7, 2002 Cached
- Focus Brands To Buy Cinnabon From AFC Enterprises. New York Times, September 9, 2004
- FOCUS Brands Buys Moe's Southwest Grill - Restaurant News - QSR Magazine
- Focus Brands buying Schlotzsky's, Austin Business Journal, November 20, 2006.
- "Atlanta's Roark Capital buys Il Fornaio parent firm". San Francisco Chronicle. 2011-06-14.
- Olivia Oran (20 November 2013). "Roark Capital to buy CKE Restaurants from Apollo". Reuters.
- Roark Capital Group (company website)