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Mexican fast-casual chain finds new owner

A private equity firm is getting into the Mexican restaurant business.

Apollo Global Management has agreed to buy Qdoba Restaurant Corp. from Jack in the Box Inc. for about $305 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close by April 2018.

Qdoba is the second largest fast-casual Mexican food brand in the U.S., with more than 700 locations in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada, and system-wide sales of more than $820 million in fiscal 2017. But the chain has been struggling with declining same-store sales in three of the past four quarters.

"We are extremely excited to be acquiring Qdoba and look forward to working with the management team, employees and franchisees to continue building the Qdoba brand," said Apollo senior partner Lance Milken, senior partner, Apollo, whose holdings include CEC Entertainment Inc., parent of Chuck E. Cheese’s and Peter Piper Pizza restaurant brands. "We are firmly committed to Qdoba’s continued growth as a leading fast-casual restaurant operator.”

Jack in the Box acquired Qdoba in 2003. At the time, it had 85 locations.
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