It's the end of an era.

A shocking sale rocked the fast food world on Thursday. It's been confirmed that Subway has been acquired by the Roark Capital umbrella, effectively ending over five decades of family ownership.

If that name doesn't ring any bells, maybe you'll recognize some of the other brands it owns.

Dunkin' Donuts Sign
Photo Credit - Mario Tama/Getty Images
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Roark's portfolio includes Dunkin', Buffalo Wild Wings, Baskin Robbins, Arby's, Jimmy John's, Sonic, The Cheesecake Factory, Carvel and many other recognizable brands.

Its overall investments total roughly $37 billion.

Why was Subway sold?

It's no secret that Subway has struggled financially in recent years, especially following the public fallout of former spokesperson Jared Fogle. Fogle went to trial in 2015 for child sex crimes and Subway's reputation suffered as a result.

Read More: Subway Is Giving Away Free Subs Today: Here's How to Get Yours

Not only did Subway's reputation suffer, its finances also took a mighty hit. The company struggled to make a full comeback for close to a decade before confirming back in February it was exploring a possible sale.

It was reported Subway initially sought a $10 billion buyout deal.

 

Courtesy of Subway
Courtesy of Subway
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It was not publicly announced how much Roark paid to acquire Subway, but a report from The Wall Street Journal claims the private equity firm forked over $9.6 billion for it.

Now that the dust is settling, Subway seems optimistic about its future. John Chidsey, CEO of Subway, says the company "has a bright future with Roark" and the sale ensures the chain's "long-term growth potential."

As for how Roark plans to handle Subway, Chidsey said the current plan is to keep Subway as a separate entity on Roark's portfolio.

Subway opened its first store nearly 60 years ago

Fred DeLuca and Peter Buck co-founded the company when they opened their first shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut, back in 1965.

Courtesy of Subway
Courtesy of Subway
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Subway eventually went on to become the largest fast food chain in the world.

The company gained popularity with its $5 footlong sandwich deal as well as Fogle's weight loss success story. The chain seemingly peaked in popularity back in 2015, when it had 27,100 stores operating in the United States alone.

But, the back-to-back scandals caused the chain to slip to second place.

Read More: 5 Things You Should Never Order for Delivery

DeLuca died the same year as Fogle's scandal, which negatively impacted the brand. Also, who can forget Subway's infamous "yoga mat" controversy where a food blogger claimed the company was pumping its bread full of chemicals.

These setbacks forced the chain to slow down considerably. As a result, Subway has shuttered thousands of locations - in 2020, the chain had just 20.600 U.S. stores in 2020.

In the years since, the company tried rehabilitating its image and rolled out several changes by revamping its menu, investing in technology and partnering with different franchises.

And while the changes did produce results, it appeared the number wasn't enough to correct course.

Currently, there are more than 37,000 Subway restaurants operating in over 100 countries.

While we wait to see how the sale will change Subway, you can still visit the chain's more than 740 stores operating here in New York.

To find the chain closest to you, click HERE.

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