Roark Capital to be Jimmy John’s Owner

A Jimmy Johns in Naperville, Illinois. Photo by Wpktsfs
A Jimmy Johns in Naperville, Illinois. Photo by Wpktsfs

Private equity firm Roark Capital Group will soon be the new owner of Jimmy John’s sandwich shop. When the deal is finalized the Atlanta-based company will have added Jimmy John’s to its already impressive portfolio which includes Miller’s Ale House, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and Arby’s. Roark will have acquired, in total, 56 multi-unit or franchise brands bringing in $23 billion annually in revenue via a total of 25,000 worldwide locations.

Jimmy John’s founder and owner, Jimmy John Liautaud started the sandwich outlet back in 1983 as a recent high school graduate with $25,000 in seed money he was loaned by his father, James Liautaud. From Liautaud’s first shop in the Chicago area the business quickly grew. By 2007 the company had 1000 restaurants, and by 2014 the brand supported a family of 2,000 outlets, most of which franchise-owned and operated.
The company is still growing at a fast pace: over the past five years an average of 200 new restaurants have opened annually, with s similar outlook projected into the future. The company is planning to add another 1000 shops over the next few years.

The deal between Roark and Jimmy John’s allows Liautaud to keep his position as chairman of the board, where he will “continue to help shape the company’s high-level strategic direction.” Liautaud will also remain as Jimmy John’s primary owner as the company’s largest individual shareholder. James North will also stay ensconced as the restaurant’s president and CEO, continuing to supervise the day-to-day running of the sandwich chain. Currently Jimmy John’s has 2,500 locations in 43 states, with an annual revenue of approximately $2 billion.

Roark managing partner Neal Aronson said in a statement that,

“Jimmy has built an amazing business with unlimited potential. It’s a testament to his vision (and) commitment to quality and the team’s outstanding execution. We are thrilled to be a part of this iconic brand and look forward to supporting its continued growth.”

Kick the Bad Habits of Poor People

indexThere is more to increasing wealth than having a good job and a budget. Avoiding the pitfalls of some bad habits can also go a long way in helping you achieve your financial goals more quickly and easily.

  • Having bad physical habits can do more than just harm your health. For instance, one study on people who smoke found that the net worth of heavy smokers was $8,300 less than non-smokers. Moderate smokers saw a $2,000 differential. The average effect of smoking on wealth was a 4 percent decrease for each year the person smoked, the approximate number spent each year on cigarettes. This study did not examine the negative effect smoking has on the cost of health insurance, and the extra time spent at the doctor. In other words, stop smoking and you will significantly improve your financial situation.
  • Who your friends are and what their financial habits are can have a huge effect on a person’s own habits. If your friends spend their weekends drinking, eating at expensive restaurants, and shopping at the mall, there is a good chance that you will, too. Start hanging out with people that spend their time and money wisely, and some of that wisdom, and wealth-building habits, should rub-off on you.
  • The way your parents raised you is a big influence on your own money habits. Unfortunately, you can’t pick your parents, but you can make a conscious choice to make different choices when it comes to your own money. Take a closer look. Did one or both of your parents gamble too much? Drink? Max out their credit cards? Don’t let their bad lifestyles effect you negatively. Rather use them as examples of what not to do, and you can go beyond them in your ability to build your own, and your family’s financial security.

Higher Prices will Benefit Partners at Starbucks

Starbucks customers will be paying about 30 cents more for their coffee soon. Patrons should be pleased to know than rather than filling the pockets of executives at Starbucks, the increased revenue will be used to give employees a pay raise of at least 5 percent beginning in October.

Starbucks is famous for making the development of its employees a high priority. Workers at the coffee house giant are fondly referred to as ‘partners,’ and they have a nice list of benefits offered to those partners, including comprehensive health care benefits, stock rewards, tuition reimbursements, and training. The company also offers development opportunities to its employees.


Art in the Workplace

modern-officeA couple of decades ago, it might have been the case that a student potentially wanting to make art his or her career would have been discouraged by parents and mentors.  “What sort of job will you get with an art education?  How will you pay the bills?” were questioned often posed.  Today though it seems not only is this not the case, but the opposite might even be true.

Founded in 1929, the Academy of Art University is a “proprietary institution [with] a total undergraduate enrollment of 10,044.” This year, at the 88th Academy Awards, a movie made by one of its alumna was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film.  Its motto: “Your Dream. Your Career. Your Journey” seems to be in line with what people are now saying about the benefits of making art their major at college.

Meg Osman in a recent article in Fast Coexist pointed out these facts:

“The workplace of the future is always being created. Every day, companies are introducing new ideas, strategies, and technologies that change how and where we work. Each year, new graduates enter the workforce with bold ideas about their workstyle preferences and needs. New research is constantly emerging that points to new ways for us to work smarter, healthier, and more effectively. Collectively, these influences are reshaping workplaces and pushing them to a future state that never stops evolving…Even more recently, organizations are beginning to look toward other industries like education, art, hospitality, and more for design ideas that can spur innovative cultures and enrich company offices.”

So for educational institutes such as the Academy of Art University, students can now not only follow their dreams but, at the same time, develop their careers from this via their journey in life.

Finance Professionals Facing Pay Cuts After New Regulations Kick In

After long-delays it looks like regulators will finally have their way; legislation to restrict bonuses were proposed by financial services watchdogs are about to come into practice.

Payouts are being limited as one of the last parts of the Dodd-Frank reforms which were instituted to prevent financial disasters. The new rules will apply to a wider range of employees at large banks and not just the top tier execs, in addition to those working at other kinds of institutions.

The new rules will mostly affect those who are designated as “significant risk-takers.” They include those on the top 5 percent of earners at the largest banks or others who put at risk large amounts of an institutions capital.

When the Famous Die Without a Will

taxWhen a person of means dies without a will, many tax questions arise.  With the sudden death of Prince last month, many conflicts and confusions have come up: song royalties, real estate and his as-yet unreleased compositions.  A principal issue to contend with is how to establish an aggregate value on his potential that fateful day in April 2016.

According to one expert, Jonathan Blattmachr, Principal in the estate planning advisory group of Pioneer Wealth Partners, this matter will indeed be “very groundbreaking.”  Should the IRS triumph, other famous people might start encouraging their estate planners to modify their image rights.  Nonetheless, Blattmachr pointed out, in Prince’s case the IRS and taxpayers will likely remain stumped, and he thus suggests the value of names and likenesses should be absolved from the estate tax. Instead future earnings as ordinary income (as opposed to capital gains) should be taxed.  In a best case scenario determining the value is “horribly speculative,” Blattmachr noted as “Michael Jackson will be different from Prince who will be different from Madonna.”

So how can mistakes in the Prince case be avoided?  Two years ago, the IRS admitted to having “made a mistake” in valuing Michael Jackson’s estate, most notably that of his “intangible and intellectual property… [and] the value of two trusts he apparently set up to borrow against his assets and to transfer assets to his heirs at minimal tax cost during his life.”

The Jackson matter continues even now.  Indeed, just a few months ago – four years after his death – a new way was discussed on what to do about the tax situation.  The problem is quite extensive.   Matt Kadish of Kadish, Hinkel & Weibel said he was “unaware of any cases to date that have addressed whether the value of a person’s image rights are subject to estate tax, and if so, how to value them.”

Right now the law on Prince’s estate remains “unsettled.” His estate now has nine months to file its tax return and estate his net worth, following which the IRS has three years to challenge it. But should the tax man be deemed to be too demanding the estate could end up in tax court.

Chinese Telecom Company Caught Trying to By-Pass US Law

The US government will restrict ZTE Corp’s ability to acquire US products, due to the company’s attempt to by-pass US law regarding sale of certain items to Iran. In a public notice published by the US Commerce Department, ZTE and three other telecom companies were caught in a scheme to re-export controlled items to Iran, breaking US law.

The notice cited company documents from ZTE which showed that the Chinese maker of mobile handsets was planning to use shell companies to by-pass US laws which restrict the sale of certain kinds of equipment to Iran.

Impact of PATH Act

paperworkThe PATH Act – (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes) is resulting in some quite significant changes to tax laws in America.  The most significant ones can be divided up into three main points:

  1. Those over the age of 70 years and 6 months will be given the opportunity to make direct contributions from their IRA (Individual Retirement Account) to a charitable organization without incurring taxes.
  2. Businesses can immediately deduct as much as $500,000 in capital expenditures.
  3. People will be able to deduct state sales taxes without receipts. One can deduct state and local sales taxes as a substitute for state and local income taxes.

To further clarify matters included in the PATH Act, Anchin Block will be discussing this matter as part of its twice-yearly CEP for CFOs sessions to take place on June 14, at their New York offices. Also at the session, Buy/Sell Agreements, whereby a panel will discuss trends and pitfalls will take place.

Weaker Loonie Luring Tourists North

Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. 1 troy ounce. Reverse. Photo by Basketbread
Canadian Gold Maple Leaf. 1 troy ounce. Reverse. Photo by Basketbread

Despite an exchange rate that only pays 70 Canadian cents on every US dollar, Canadians will still travel to the US twice as much as Americans heading north to Canada.

That declaration comes from a study conducted by the Toronto-Dominion Bank in which economist Derek Burleton analyzed travel between the two countries. The study was focused on how the weak Canadian dollar is effecting travel between the world’s longest undefended international border.

Last year, as most Canadians know quite well, the loonie lost 16 percent of its value last year compared to the US dollar. The Toronto-Dominion Bank believes this figure should remain stable for most of this year, 2016. Therefore, all of the study’s conclusions are based on this assumption.

Burleton found that the weaker Canadian dollar has indeed persuaded Americans to head north. Total visits by Americans to Canada went up by 1.6 percent during the first 11 months of 2015, compared to the same period the year before.

“American visits to Canada are finally picking up,” Burleton said. “With a similar momentum likely to carry over in 2016, American spending in Canada is poised to rise to $9.6 billion Canadian,” Burleton said, “the highest level in over a decade.”

Canadians also will spend much more in the USA than Americans will in Canada.

“Canadian visits south will continue to overshadow American visits north, and Canadians are expected to spend in the U.S. at least double the aggregate amount that Americans will spend in Canada,” Burleton noted.

Keane Buys Trican’s US Division in a $247 Million Deal

Despite the precipitous drop in oil prices, the Keane Group will purchase the US division of a Canadian oil field services company in a bid to grow the company.

James Stewart, CEO of Keane, said that the purchase will more than double the size of the small oil field company.

Last month the two companies, Keane and Trican Well Services, a pressure pumping business based in Calgary, announced that they were in advanced negotiations discussing purchase. The final agreement features Keane paying $200 million in cash for Trican, plus a 10 percent stake in the shares of Keane Group Holdings. The total value of the deal equals $247 million. The deal should be finalized by the middle of March.

“We’ve been a small, well-capitalized completion services company,” Stewart said. “And now is a good time to consolidate. We’re in a unique position … to potentially roll up more companies.”

The finalization of the deal will allow Keane improved access in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas and some of Oklahoma and Kansas. It will also allow Keane a stronger presence in the Permian Basin in West Texas and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.

“As the market rebounds, we’ll be well positioned,” Stewart said, emphasizing the importance of the  “untapped potential” still remaining in the Permian.