BRS in 5.7x restaurant exit

The sale of Il Fornaio and Corner Bakery Café marks BRS’ second Fund II exit this month, following the sale of convenience store owner Wilson Farms to 7-Eleven.

New York-based buyout firm Bruckmann Rosser Sherrill & Company has sold restaurant operator Il Fornaio and Corner Bakery Café to Roark Capital Group, generating a 5.7x return multiple and a gross IRR in excess of 22 percent. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

BRS purchased Il Fornaio in a 2001 take-private. The firm added Corner Bakery Café in 2006, an acquisition that more than doubled the size of Il Fornaio. Both investments came from BRS’ second fund, which closed on $700 million in 1999.

Earlier this month, BRS completed the sale of convenience store owner Wilson Farms to 7-Eleven, generating a gross multiple of approximately 3.2x and a gross IRR in excess of 20 percent.

“These two exits further improve Fund II’s performance,” a source close to BRS told Private Equity International. “The remaining Fund II portfolio is performing well and the firm is optimistic about the potential to realize additional value through these businesses,” the source said.

Another big win for the firm was the sale of restaurant chain Logan’s Roadhouse, into which the company invested $25 million and out of which it took $109 million, for a gross return of 4.7x, last October.

BRS’ string of successful exits comes amid uncertainty surrounding the firm’s future fundraising prospects. BRS weathered some poor-performing investments early in Fund II that dimmed investor support for Fund III. That fund closed on around $220 million in 2007, well short of its $600 million target.

Fund II had a “slow” start, BRS founding partner Stephen Sherrill told PEI in a past interview, but had climbed back and was producing a 1.6x return multiple as of 7 April, according to the firm, before the successful exits of both Wilson Farms and Il Fornaio.