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Restaurant titans are getting in on the SPAC frenzy. Here is what deals Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer and billionaire Tilman Fertitta are scoping out.

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Restaurant titans are getting in on the SPAC frenzy. Here is what deals Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer and billionaire Tilman Fertitta are scoping out.

DannyMeyer 02 GettyImages 624401698

Danny Meyer, founder of Shake Shack, is the chairman of a brand unique SPAC.

Getty Photography


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  • SPACs raised a characterize $80 billion in proceeds in 2020, according to Baird. 
  • Restaurant leaders are joining the SPAC tell to rapid seize emerging brands public thru shell corporations. 
  • ‘I’ve consistently grown my company and maintain when others are prone,’ casino titan Tilman Fertitta acknowledged. 
  • Search recommendation from the Business section of Insider for added tales.

At the onset of the pandemic, eating areas had been shutting down operations to curb the unfold of COVID-19  –  a crisis that will well presumably finish up crippling the economy for months.

Early Newspaper

A total bunch of eating areas by no blueprint reopened and unique unit development got here to a grinding discontinue. In this environment, most investors would abet away from investing in the industry, but no longer Ophir Sternberg.  With every crisis comes alternative, and Sternberg is among several entrepreneurs and hospitality titans joining the SPAC craze to rapid seize emerging restaurant brands public thru shell corporations.  

“Here is an industry that is going thru this principal shake-up and transition and there will most doubtless be some precise winners that will come out of it. That’s why we intend to capitalize on it,” Sternberg, an exact property entrepreneur, told Insider in a most as a lot as date interview. 

Sternberg joined a a wide variety of reason acquisition company, OPES Acquisition Corp., in March with the intent of finding a chain he would possibly perhaps well perhaps seize public and grow. Over the summer season when COVID-19 cases had been surging, OPES sold emerging Florida-primarily based exclusively burger brand BurgerFi in a deal valued at $100 million. 

“It used to be a aesthetic crazy time to grab a restaurant brand, but over the years, in my investment career, some of the most winning deals I’ve done had been contrarian moves,” Sternberg acknowledged.

Sternberg is no longer alone in his contrarian business blueprint.

A spurt of most as a lot as date pandemic-fueled SPACs cling formed as of late in the restaurant industry. Most are being led by high-profile restaurant veterans including Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer, casino and informal dining billionaire Tilman Fertitta, prone Dine Brands CEO Julia A. Stewart and prone Jamba CEO Dave Tempo. 

Tilman Fertitta

Tilman Fertitta is taking his company public thru merging with FAST Acquisition Corp., a SPAC.

Tilman Fertitta


“With the COVID disruptions at some point of the United States, there’s going to be astonishing restaurant and gaming opportunities, either thru M&A, redevelopment, and rebranding,” Fertitta told ability investors final week when he announced his intention to grab his hospitality company public thru a merger with the SPAC, FAST Acquisition Corp. “I’ve consistently grown my company and maintain when others are prone.”

Analyst Set Kalinowski told Insider the dizzying selection of restaurant SPACs is an indicator that “acquisition train” in the restaurant industry will remain high at some point of 2021.  

SPAC frenzy

A SPAC, or a a wide variety of reason acquisition company, permits a business to plug public rapid and is on the total much less costly than a traditional IPO because there’s much less bureaucracy, acknowledged Kalinowski, of Kalinowski Equity Analysis.

In 2020, SPACs raised a characterize $80 billion in proceeds, according to a 2021 characterize by Baird. In behind January, Goldman Sachs acknowledged SPAC IPOs accounted for added than 50% of US IPOs final 12 months. 

The frenzy to affect shell corporations to plug public has spilled over into 2021. In the first three weeks of the 12 months, 56 US SPACs had been brought to market, according to Goldman Sachs.

“Given low-interest rates and strong investor interest in greater-development businesses, we examine extra investor capital to disappear to SPACs, which cling develop into increasingly mainstream and institutionalized, with participation by well-identified sponsors and high-profile individual,” Baird acknowledged in its 2021 characterize.

In the restaurant industry, there’s no one extra high profile than Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Neighborhood, and Fertitta, the owner of a string of informal and fine dining eating areas and casinos equivalent to Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino, Bubba Gump Minute Co. and Morton’s The Steakhouse.

On Friday, Meyer filed to elevate $250 million for USHG Acquisition Corp., a SPAC.

The shell company intends to merge with one or extra “culture-pushed” businesses in the following sectors: technology, e-commerce, food and beverage, well being and retail and consumer items, according to a regulatory filing. 

“We are passionate about combining with a reason-pushed business that is scalable and constructed for the long-duration of time. We are in a position to invest in a market leader whose finest moat is its abilities and coronary heart,”  Meyer, who will abet as the chairman on the SPAC, wrote in the filing. 

Whereas Meyer is looking to keep on his hospitality first-pushed empire, Fertitta acknowledged he is going after opportunities created in an economic crisis seriously in the casino business. 

“There had been some sizable deals out there that took space in the gaming industry in the final 18 to 24 months that we didn’t think that we would possibly perhaps well perhaps capitalize on without being a public company,” he acknowledged. “We’re drained of missing out on principal opportunities.”

As such, Fertitta acknowledged his hospitality company, Fertitta Entertainment, will develop into extra of a gaming company.

“It’s the conventional large field theory. Why inaugurate up 50 eating areas that keep a million greenbacks every instead of a casino that does 50 million,” he acknowledged.

Tranquil, he acknowledged his company will “continue to keep eating areas.”

BurgerFi International

BurgerFi International turned into a publicly-traded company final 12 months thru the SPAC route of.

Nasdaq


OPES to BurgerFi International

BurgerFi’s Sternberg is taking the same opportunistic blueprint  – something he learned during the Colossal Recession when he devoured up a kind of “large” Contemporary York precise property.

He acknowledged the pandemic has shed a light-weight on strong and prone restaurant brands. He turned into chairman and CEO of OPES Acquisition Corp. final 12 months to find a fine quality restaurant chain he can grow. 

BurgerFi, which is  a 125-unit like a flash-informal chain, fit the invoice. 

Besides serving a high quality Angus crimson meat burger, Sternberg acknowledged BurgerFi had a strong digital business. The chain is additionally growing income thru a ghost kitchen partnership with REEF Know-how, and adding extra pressure-thrus, which turned into a actually distinguished ordering channel during the pandemic. 

OPES performed the seize of BurgerFi in December, creating a brand unique publicly traded company: BurgerFi International.

Sternberg expects in an effort to add 30 to 35 extra BurgerFi locations in 2021, while additionally looking to grow the BurgerFi portfolio with another top fee like a flash-informal brand. 

“That’s the area we are looking to quit in,” he acknowledged.

Ragged Applebee’s and Jamba leaders enter SPAC tell

Some SPACs are taking a broader ogle at the industry including Tastemaker Acquisition Corp., which formed in January. 

Led by the prone CEO of smoothie chain Jamba, Tastemaker is looking at the total restaurant “ecosystem” including food tech, eating areas, and equipment corporations, co-CEO Dave Tempo told Insider in a most as a lot as date interview.

“We’re looking at well lumber development corporations. We’re no longer looking for damaged corporations that we are in a position to maintain on the cheap and repair and then seize public,” acknowledged Tempo, who led Jamba when it used to be got in 2018 by Roark Capital Neighborhood’s Focal point Brands.

No longer like other restaurant SPACs, Tempo acknowledged Tastemaker is additionally scouting corporations that service restaurant chains, but would possibly perhaps well perhaps “cruise beneath the radar.”

“Corporations that don’t cling large brands but they cling large businesses supporting eating areas,” Tempo acknowledged.

He acknowledged the most as a lot as date surge in restaurant-centered SPACs confirms the immense selection of opportunities in the industry to grab well-managed corporations public.

Chunk Acquisition Corp., which filed in behind January to plug public and elevate $150 million, is looking to combine with brands which cling “sturdy fashion ability in national and international markets,” according to a regulatory filing. 

“We intend to combine with a business that at display has moved, or is without considerations adaptable, to unique approaches to customer communications and ordering, understands the dynamics of serving clients at its eating areas and at home, and has adopted unique guest-facing and control/methods technologies,” according to the S-1 filing. 

Key Chunk restaurant leaders include Julia Stewart, who served as CEO of IHOP when it got Applebee’s; veteran hospitality consultant Randall Hiatt; and Joseph C. Essa, president and CEO of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Neighborhood.

Kalinowski acknowledged these SPACs are finally looking at a few options. Clutch and grow an emerging brand, or maintain something of imprint “on the cheap.” 

“There’s a kind of angles,” Kalinowski acknowledged.

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Restaurant titans are getting in on the SPAC frenzy. Here is what deals Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer and billionaire Tilman Fertitta are scoping out.

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