Carlson to sell TGI Fridays to Sentinel and TriArtisan

Global hospitality and travel company Carlson is to sell TGI Fridays® Restaurants to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of TGI Fridays® Restaurants to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by July 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.

“We are proud of the Fridays brand and strong marketplace momentum that has been created over the past nearly four decades,” said Carlson President and CEO Trudy Rautio. “This transaction is a win for all parties and we are excited and confident that under Sentinel’s ownership Fridays will continue to experience significant growth and capitalize on new opportunities. For Carlson, this transaction frees up resources that the company can deploy to focus on and accelerate the growth of its hotel and travel businesses, at a time when significant opportunities exist in these markets.”

This transaction represents the conclusion of a thorough and exhaustive strategic alternatives process initiated by Carlson for TGI Fridays in November of 2013. TGI Fridays will continue to be run by its proven and well-respected management team, led by President and CEO Nick Shepherd.

The first TGI Fridays restaurant opened in 1965 in New York City, building a brand known for handcrafted American food and legendary drinks, served with genuine personal service. Carlson acquired TGI Fridays in 1975 when the brand had just 12 restaurants. Since that time TGI Fridays has become a brand loved around the world, today with more than 900 restaurants in operation globally in 60 countries and reported system-wide sales of $2.7 billion in 2013. TGI Fridays restaurants include TGI Fridays, Fridays FrontRow Sports Grill and Fridays American Bar, and employ over 70,000 people globally.

Sentinel, who will be TGI Fridays’ majority shareholder, has extensive restaurant and franchising investment experience and a demonstrated ability to create successful independent businesses through complex corporate carve outs. Sentinel has completed numerous acquisitions of both franchisors and franchisees, including Checkers/Rally’s, the largest franchisor and operator of dual drive-thru hamburger QSRs in the United States; Newk’s Eatery, a rapidly growing fast-casual concept in the Southeast United States; Falcon Holdings, the largest franchisee of Church’s Chicken restaurants; Huddle House, a leading franchisor of family dining restaurants in the Southeast; Massage Envy, the nation’s largest provider and franchisor of therapeutic massage and spa services; and Southern California Pizza Company, a 223-unit Pizza Hut franchisee operating in the greater Los Angeles market.

“We are very excited to partner with TGI Fridays’ outstanding management team,” said John McCormack, a Sentinel senior partner. “TGI Fridays is an iconic global brand with a long history of solid performance and a significant opportunity for future growth.”

Piper Jaffray & Co. served as Carlson’s financial advisor for this transaction and Locke Lord LLP served as legal counsel.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Sentinel.

About Carlson
Carlson is a global hospitality and travel company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group includes more than 1,340 hotels in operation and development, including, Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Radisson Red, Park Plaza®; Park Inn® by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM; and a majority stake in Carlson Wagonlit Travel®, the global leader in business travel management. Carlson operates in more than 150 countries and territories and its brands employ more than 100,000 people.

About Sentinel Capital Partners
Sentinel Capital Partners specializes in buying and building middle market companies in the United States and Canada in partnership with management. Sentinel targets aerospace and defense, business services, consumer, distribution, food and restaurants, franchising, healthcare, and industrial businesses. Sentinel invests in management buyouts, recapitalizations, corporate divestitures, and going-private transactions of established businesses. Sentinel also invests in special situations, including balance sheet restructurings and operational turnarounds. For more information about Sentinel, visit

About TriArtisan Capital Partners
TriArtisan Capital Partners is the merchant banking arm of Morgan Joseph TriArtisan LLC. TriArtisan makes investments in market leading companies in partnership with accomplished management, leading private equity funds and institutional limited partners.

About TGI Fridays
As the original casual dining bar and grill, TGI Fridays offers authentic American food and legendary drinks, served with genuine personal service. Bringing people together to socialize and celebrate the freeing and liberating spirit of “Friday” was the concept’s founding premise, from which the brand promise “In Here, It’s Always Friday” was born. To share that social Fridays experience all over the world, TGI Fridays proudly serves guests with over 900 restaurants in more than 60 countries. Making every day feel like a Friday wouldn’t be possible without creating a place where friends feel free to get together. That’s why TGI Fridays takes pride in its nearly 8,000 skilled and knowledgeable bartenders, all of whom for the past twenty years have competed annually for the title of the “World’s Greatest TGI Fridays Bartender.”

The Fridays guest recognition program, Give Me More Stripes®, gives Fridays’ closest friends exclusive insider rewards, special event access, and menu sneak peeks, and is not only the first loyalty program of its kind in the industry, but one of the most progressive.

TGI Fridays believes in having a good time, but also in the importance of drinking responsibly. Additionally, its Responsible Business Program is focused on positively impacting the communities it serves.