Halifax Buys PJ United

The Halifax Group has sponsored a management buyout of PJ United Inc., the largest franchisee of Papa John's pizza shops. No financial terms were disclosed. North Point Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to management., while GE Franchise Finance and Merrill Lynch Capital provided leveraged financing for the transaction.



The Halifax Group (“Halifax”) today announced the completion of a management-led buyout of PJ United, Inc. (“PJ United”), the largest franchisee of Papa John's International, Inc. (“Papa John's) stores.  Papa John's is the world's third-largest pizza company and a leader in carry-out and delivery pizza.  PJ United operates 116 Papa John's stores in six states.


Terms of the buyout were not disclosed.  Douglas S. Stephens, founder and chief executive officer of PJ United, retains a significant equity stake in the company and will continue to lead the same management team post-closing.  Halifax and Mr. Stephens, along with the existing management team, provided the equity for the transaction while the former controlling shareholders have liquidated their interests. 


“PJ United has made exceptional progress since its founding in 1991,” said Mr. Stephens.  “We believe that the market for our high-quality pizza products and delivery services offers attractive growth potential and that Halifax will enhance PJ United's ability to take advantage of these opportunities.  Working with Halifax, we will pursue a strategy not only to expand in existing markets but also, to acquire and expand in contiguous markets as well.”


“We remain committed to increasing value, for investors, customers, and our team members through superior product quality and intense customer, community and team focus,” said Mr. Stephens.  “Halifax's expertise and resources, coupled with PJ United's existing strengths, will help accelerate our growth substantially.”


“Papa John's International is an extremely strong, successful brand, and PJ United is an exceptional regional operator,” said Ken Doyle, managing director, Halifax.  “Halifax is enthusiastic about our new partnership with the management of PJ United, particularly given our favorable experience with franchise concepts.  We believe that PJ United and the Papa John's franchise are in a strong competitive position, with room to grow in existing and new markets alike.  We are excited to be partnering with a strong management team, led by Doug Stephens, and look forward to leveraging PJ United's already powerful market position and take it to the next level of growth.”


North Point Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to management.  GE Franchise Finance and Merrill Lynch Capital provided financing for the transaction.


About The Halifax Group

The Halifax Group is a private equity firm specializing in partnering with managers and entrepreneurs to recapitalize and grow lower middle-market companies across a variety of industries, including businesses in the healthcare services, wellness, infrastructure services and business services sectors.  The firm maintains offices in Washington, D.C., Dallas, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina.  For more information, visit www.thehalifaxgroup.com.


About PJ United

Founded in 1991, PJ United is the country's largest franchisee of Papa John's International, a leading national brand for carry-out and delivery pizza.  Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, PJ United operates 116 stores in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia.  For more information, visit www.mypapajohns.com.