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TPG acquires restaurant operator; sells pharmaceutical investment

🕐 2 min read

Fort Worth-based TPG Growth, the middle market buyout and growth equity investment platform of TPG, has joined with company management to acquire PJ United, the largest franchisee of Papa John’s Pizza, from The Halifax Group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., PJ United operates 155 Papa John’s stores in Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia. Over its 22 year history, PJ United has grown into a leading restaurant operator in the pizza category.

“TPG Growth has a great track record of building businesses and there is no better partner to support our next stage of growth,” said Doug Stephens, CEO of PJ United. “TPG brings experience and resources that will help us sustain our strong organic growth and further expand our footprint through additional acquisitions, allowing us to serve more customers and provide more opportunities for our 3,600 team members.”  

In another TPG-related transaction, Bridgewater, N.J.-based Aptalis, a privately-held leading specialty pharmaceutical company, announced Jan. 8 it has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Forest Laboratories Inc. Forest Laboratories, a specialty pharmaceutical company that trades over the NYSE under the symbol FRX, agreed to acquire Aptalis from TPG, the global private investment firm, for $2.9 billion in cash, pending required reviews by anti-trust authorities. TPG acquired Aptalis, formerly known as Axcan Pharma, for $1.3 billion in 2008.

“Under TPG’s ownership, Aptalis has grown through internal product development and acquisitions, and now our new, larger, multi-national owner will provide increased opportunities,” said Frank Verwiel, president and CEO of Aptalis. Aptalis is a global specialty pharmaceutical company that has approximately 1,000 employees worldwide. The company provides therapies for unmet medical needs including cystic fibrosis and gastrointestinal disorders. Aptalis reported sales of $688 million in FY2013 which ended September 2013. Debevoise & Plimpton LLC and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP served as Forest’s legal counsel, and Aptalis was advised by Ropes & Gray, LLP. Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to Forest. J. P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as financial advisors to Aptalis. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2014 pending regulatory review and satisfactory completion of necessary closing conditions.  

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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