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Apollo Global Management Exploring Sale of Qdoba Restaurants

Crystal Tse and Kiel Porter

(Bloomberg) -- Apollo Global Management Inc. is exploring a sale of Qdoba Restaurant Corp., a Mexican food chain it acquired last year, according to Qdoba Chief Executive Officer Keith Guilbault.

“We’re extremely grateful for the guidance, strategy and resources Apollo has provided,” Guilbault said in an emailed statement. “Now, as Apollo explores a potential sale, it shows the health and strength of the QDOBA brand as we continue to focus on what we do best -- creating flavor that our customers love and cultivating a culture that our team members enjoy every day.”

New York-based Apollo is working with advisers on a potential sale of Qdoba, which could fetch up to $550 million, including debt, according to a person familiar with the matter, asking not to be identified because information is private. It generates about $50 million in annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a 25% year-over-year increase, while same-store sales have risen 4% over the same period, the person said.

Representatives for Apollo declined to comment.

Apollo closed its $305 million purchase of Qdoba from Jack in the Box Inc. in March 2018. The San Diego-based company, which does business as QDOBA Mexican Eats, has more than 750 locations in the U.S. and Canada, according to its website.

Since Apollo acquired the company, it has started offering plant-based meat substitutes at its restaurants and opened a new headquarters in San Diego, according to its website.

Apollo is bringing Qdoba to market after the firm’s attempt to take Chuck E. Cheese parent CEC Entertainment Inc. public via a reverse merger fell apart in July.

(Updates with financial information in third paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Crystal Tse in New York at ctse44@bloomberg.net;Kiel Porter in Chicago at kporter17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Liana Baker at lbaker75@bloomberg.net, Matthew Monks, Michael Hytha

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