Elizabeth Warren Freaks Out Over Potential Subway Buyout

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren last week expressed her support for the Federal Trade Commission’s decision to investigate Subway’s purchase by a private equity firm, which Warren warned would create a “sandwich shop monopoly,” Deseret reported.

In a post on X, Warren said the country did not need “another private equity deal” that could increase food prices.

Subway announced in August that it was selling the family-owned company to Roark Capital for $9.6 billion. Roark Capital also has investments in other sandwich chains, including McAlister’s Deli and Jimmy John’s. Its portfolio also includes fast food chains Auntie Anne’s Buffalo Wild Wings, Arby’s, and Sonic.

If the Atlanta-based Roark Capital is successful in acquiring Subway, the sandwich shop will be a separate entity with the equity firm’s larger portfolio. However, the acquisition must first undergo a 30-day review from the FTC which is mandatory for mergers of more than $111.4 million, according to Politico.

Subway CEO John Chidsey said in August that the transaction with Roark Capital “reflects Subway’s long-term growth potential” and the value of its brand and franchisees “around the world.”

When asked by CNBC at the time if Subway would remain the same after the sale, Chidsey said he didn’t think there would be any changes. Chidsey noted that the benefit of franchising is that franchise owners set the prices for their stores. He added that customers visit a variety of “quick service restaurant brands” rather than focusing on just one brand.

In a 2023 report, QSR Magazine, a publication for the quick-service restaurant industry, named Subway the largest sandwich chain in the United States. Subway has roughly 37,000 franchise locations in over 100 countries.

Jimmy John’s and McAlister Deli are also included in the top seven on QSR’s rankings.

According to a 2021 franchise agreement obtained by the New York Post, Subway considers both Jimmy John’s and McAlister’s Deli, along with another Roark Capital entity, Schlotzky’s, as Subway’s competition.