Sonic Corp. and Inspire Brands, Inc. have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Inspire will acquire Sonic for $43.50 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $2.3 billion including the assumption of Sonic’s net debt.
Inspire is a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes more than 4,700 Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Rusty Taco locations worldwide. Following the completion of the transaction, Sonic will be a privately-held subsidiary of Inspire and will continue to be operated as an independent brand.
The agreement, which has been unanimously approved by Sonic’s Board of Directors, represents a premium of approximately 19% per share to Sonic’s closing stock price on September 24, 2018 and a premium of approximately 21% to Sonic’s 30-day volume-weighted average price. Guggenheim Securities, LLC is serving as financial advisor to Sonic and Shearman & Sterling LLP is serving as its legal counsel. White & Case LLP is serving as legal counsel to Inspire.
“Sonic is a highly differentiated brand and is an ideal fit for the Inspire family,” said Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Brands. “We have tremendous respect for Sonic’s exceptional team of employees and franchise owners, who have built one of the industry’s most distinctive restaurant brands.”
“We’re excited to build on Sonic’s momentum as we leverage our combined expertise and capabilities to better serve guests, further support team members and franchisees and drive long-term growth.”
“This value-maximizing transaction validates the actions we have taken over the last year to grow traffic and improve sales while delivering differentiated offerings and superior guest service,” said Cliff Hudson, Sonic Corp. CEO. “Our Board of Directors, taking into account the views of shareholders, conducted a comprehensive review of a wide range of strategic options to maximize shareholder value. This transaction delivers significant, immediate and certain value to Sonic shareholders, and the private ownership structure will provide important benefits to our guests, franchisees and employees.
“As one of the largest owner-operators of company-owned and franchised restaurant brands, Inspire appreciates the unique culture of collaboration between Sonic and our franchisees. Sonic franchisees are engaged in planning regarding technology, new products and marketing programs, and the team at Inspire recognizes the central role our franchisees have played, and will continue to play, in Sonic’s success. We look forward to working closely with Inspire as we continue to provide made-to-order American classics, distinctive flavors and the most personalized guest experience in our industry.”