Roark seeks exit of 10-year Fastsigns investment

Roark launched an auction of Fastsigns, a franchisor of signs and graphics, back in March, the sources told sister website peHUB. Roark tapped North Point Advisors to run the process, the people said.

The mid-market buyout firm is seeking bids of 10x EBITDA; books were sent mainly to private equity firms, one banker said. It is unclear if the auction is still ongoing or if Roark found a buyer for Fastsigns. The company is still listed as a Roark portfolio company, according to the firm website.

Fastsigns has more than 530 franchises spread through eight countries, including the United States, Canada, England, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. The company provides products such as banners, building signs, vehicle graphics and signs for windows.

Roark’s investment in Fastsigns is more than 10 years old. The firm acquired Fastsigns in October 2003. Roark invested $15 million into Fastsigns and returned $30 million through two recaps by the end of 2011, Buyouts has reported.

Atlanta-based Roark invests in franchise, brand management, environmental services and marketing services companies. Investments include Arby’s, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, Hardee’s and Miller’s Ale House.

News of the Fastsigns auction comes as Roark is out fundraising for its fourth pool, which has a $1.5 billion target, a different source said. The $1.5 billion target is the same amount that Roark collected for its third fund in October 2012. Roark’s second pool closed at $1 billion in 2007, while the firm’s debut fund came in at $413 million in 2005, according to alternative asset data provider Bison.

Roark Capital Partners III LP is producing an 8.92 percent average IRR, Bison said. Performance data for the first and second funds was unavailable. News of Roark’s fundraising was previously reported by Dow Jones LBO Wire.

Executives of Fastsigns, North Point and Roark did not reply to requests for comment.

Luisa Beltran is a senior writer for peHUB.