TheoDavies restaurants
sold to company
in California

A notice says that the buyers
will retain all 2,289 employees
with pay and benefits

Hawaii's 83 Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and A&W-Long John Silver's restaurants have been sold to Brentwood Associates, a California private equity investment company, according to the owner of the franchises.

The purchase price was not disclosed but the asking price for the restaurants was estimated between $45 million and $50 million last year, based on a prospectus for the deal prepared by Houlihan Lokey Howard and Zukin, an international investment bank. A spokeswoman for the bank declined comment on the sale.

The restaurants are the food service division of Theo H. Davies & Co. and are being sold by Jardine Matheson Ltd., a Hong Kong-based conglomerate that bought the company in 1973. Officials from Theo Davies and Jardine did not respond to repeated inquiries.

A notice filed with the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations indicates the buyers will retain all 2,289 employees with substantially the same pay and benefits. The ownership change will take effect Oct. 8, the notice said.

The Star-Bulletin exclusively reported in March that Brentwood was exploring a deal.

"They're keeping the management team intact. Basically nothing will change for the local people. It will be a very smooth transition," said Bruce Stebbins, Hawaii Pacific general manager for Yum! Restaurants International, the franchisor of the quick-service restaurant brands.

As franchisor, Yum! has approval rights over any acquisition and keeping the local management and staff was one of its stipulations, Stebbins said. "Obviously, (Brentwood) wanted to keep the local people in the local business."

Brentwood had been pursuing the acquisition under operating partner Tom Davin, a former chief operating officer of Taco Bell Corp. and a founding executive of the predecessor to Yum!

The sale leaves the Theo Davies Federal Credit Union as the only namesake of a one-time Big Five Hawaii company, which helped to build the state's economy. The company's automotive business was purchased last October by Reed/Jones Acquisition HI LLC for $100 million. The Pacific Machinery heavy equipment business was bought by Hawthorne Machinery Co. in May for an undisclosed sum.

Credit union manager Rhonda Nii said she would like to see the credit union retain the Theo Davies name because of its long heritage in Hawaii. "I'd love to keep it traditional and keep it Theo Davies," she said.

Theo H. Davies & Co. was established by Theophilus Harris Davies in 1881, when Robert Janion died and left Davies in control of a company known then as Janion Green & Co. The original company, Starkey Janion & Co., founded in 1845, is credited as being the forerunner of Theo Davies.

Jardine Matheson purchased the Theo Davies businesses in 1973, when there were no heirs interested in running the company. It was one of the early players to get out of the sugar industry and last year Jardine confirmed it was looking to sell off its Hawaii assets to focus on its Asian heartland.

Brentwood Associates


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