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Partners Group to sell Pacific Bells

Private markets firm Partners Group, on behalf of its clients, is to sell Pacific Bells, a franchisee of the Taco Bell brand in the US, to Orangewood Partners, a long-term focused private investment firm. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Founded in 1989 with the opening of a single Taco Bell outlet in Oregon, Pacific Bells now has over 250 restaurants and more than 6,000 employees in the US. Pacific Bells is the fifth largest Taco Bell franchisee in the country with a diversified national footprint across nine states. The Company has proved resilient through Covid-19, largely due to Taco Bells’ drive-thru operating model, value-oriented menus, and strong branding. Since Partners Group acquired Pacific Bells in 2015, it has worked with the Company’s management team to meaningfully grow EBITDA and headcount, as well as almost triple the number of stores from 86 at the time of investment. In the last six years, Pacific Bells has also entered new markets, including in Wisconsin, California, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama, introduced new energy efficiency projects, and optimised operating processes.

Sujit John, Managing Director, Private Equity, Partners Group, says: “Pacific Bells is strongly positioned in the fast-growing, highly fragmented quick restaurant service sector and enjoys resilient cashflows. Together with Pacific Bells’ best-in-class management team, we have successfully transformed the Company through integrating new acquisitions and investing in technology, which has aided faster delivery times and underpinned strong sales growth, ultimately leading to a great outcome for our clients. We leave Pacific Bells well-placed for further expansion under its new ownership and wish the team well on this next stage of the Company’s growth.”

Tom Cook, Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Bells, says: “We have thoroughly enjoyed our partnership with Partners Group and the firm’s entrepreneurial governance approach has played a key role in driving our sustainable growth in recent years. There are more growth opportunities for us to access and our work with Partners Group means we now have a very solid foundation from which to do this. We are looking forward to working with our new partners at Orangewood in the years ahead.”

Ropes & Gray advised Partners Group on the transaction.

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