Tag Archives: FAT

FAT Brands (FAT) PROVIDES STRATEGIC UPDATE AT ICR CONFERENCE

FAT Brands (FAT) PROVIDES STRATEGIC UPDATE AT ICR CONFERENCE

FAT Brands has been aggressively adding to its multi-branded franchising portfolio throughout the two-year course of the Covid pandemic. We have previously chronicled (accessible by way of the SEARCH function on our Home Page) the details of that process and we present below a number of slides in the Investor Presentation released yesterday that provide an update. Most importantly, the Company has strategically pivoted, concentrating over the next year or so on consolidating and building upon the recent acquisitions from an operational standpoint, reaping the substantial organic growth and synergistic rewards, which will simultaneously allow for re-rating of the existing debt and allow for $20-30M per year less debt service. Management has stated that “tuck in” opportunistic acquisitions may still be made, such as the recent purchase of Native Grill Wings but the primary focus will be as stated above.

The slides below (1) summarize the acquisition timeline of the last two years (2) provide a summary of FAT’s portfolio as it stands today (3) updates operating results through Q3’21 (4) and provides a summary of the most important cash flow “levers” that management expects to demonstrate over the near term.

The slide just below shows the sequence of acquisitions, starting with Johnny Rockets in the fall of ’20. It is important to note that the most recently reported quarter, Q3’21, did not yet reflect a full quarter of Global Franchise (with Round Table Pizza, acquired 7/22/21), nor any contribution from Twin Peaks (acquired 10/1/21), Fazoli’s (12/16/21) or Native Wings (12/17/21). The third quarter therefore did not reflect about 35% of the $2.23B of (2019 based) systemwide sales among the current 17 brands.

 

 

 

FAT BRANDS, INC. (FAT)

QUARTERLY

The following articles describe the progress made at FAT Brands over the last several years.

https://www.liptonfinancialservices.com/2021/11/fat-brands-reports-third-quarter-results-plans-to-add-fazolis-by-mid-december/

https://www.liptonfinancialservices.com/2021/10/fat-brands-fat-wasting-no-time-in-building-multi-branded-franchised-portfolio/

https://www.liptonfinancialservices.com/2021/09/fat-brands-inc-fat-to-expand-portfolio-systemwide-sales-from-1-4-to-1-8-billion/

 

 

 

FAT Brands (FAT) – WASTING NO TIME IN BUILDING MULTI-BRANDED FRANCHISED PORTFOLIO

FAT BRANDS (FAT) – CLOSES $250M SECURITIZATION, ANNOUNCES EXPANSION IN MIDDLE EAST, COMPLETES TWIN PEAKS ACQUISITION, WITH FIFTEEN BRANDS SETS STAGE FOR $80M OF POST-COVID 2022 EBITDA.

We last updated our previous reports on FAT Brands (FAT) on September 2nd, all of which can be accessed by way of the SEARCH function on our Home Page.  A great deal of progress has been announced in a short six weeks since then. Recall that, including the acquisition of the Twin Peaks sports bar chain, the company, now franchising fifteen brands, has guided to $80M of post-Covid 2022 EBITDA.

We provide below a summary of the group of press releases since September 1st, as well as publicly disclosed remarks relative to the third calendar quarter ending September 30th.

On September 7th, the Company announced a new 200+ unit development deal in the Middle East, including 136 brick and mortar locations plus 70 ghost kitchens. In partnership with Kitopi, the master franchisee of this deal, the expansion over the next five years will cover six FAT concepts, namely Fatburger, Johnny Rockets, Buffalo’s Café, Great American Cookies, Elevation Burger and Yalla Mediterranean. The brick and mortar locations, to be located in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, will add to Kitopi’s existing 70 cloud kitchens

On September 15th, the Company priced an offering of $250M of “Series 2021-1 Fixed Rate Asset Back Notes”, which have been used to partially fund the $300M acquisition of Twin Peaks. The weighted average fixed interest rate on the notes is 8.00%. As Andy Wiederhorn, CEO, stated: “This issuance gives us ample time to increase franchised locations of this extremely successful concept…prior to refinancing”. Wiederhorn obviously expects that the interest rate can be renegotiated in a relatively short time, just as he has done with previous securitizations.

On September 27th, the Company announced the opening of the 100th Fatburger, cobranded with Buffalo’s Express, in Arlington, TX. This is the second location for this particular franchisee, whose first location opened in June, 2020. This is the third location in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and the fourth in Texas.

On October 1st, only one month after announcing the planned transaction, the Company closed the deal. As reiterated in the release, the acquisition of Twin Peaks is expected to add $25-30M to FAT Brands’ previously expected post-Covid 2022 EBITDA, bringing the total to about $80M. Twin Peaks is especially notable for its steady unit growth, high average volumes, and impressive recovery (post-Covid) to well above 2019 AUVs and Same Store Sales.

THIRD QUARTER DATA POINTS

The above releases relate to long term growth objectives. In the meantime, The Company has publicly disclosed a number of data points relating to the third quarter, ending 9/30/21.

In the second quarter reported results, the Investor Presentation showed that the first three weeks of Q3 produced a portfolio AUV of $22,674, up 13% from $20,056 in Q2.

Within the Investor Presentation relating to the Twin Peaks acquisition, it was disclosed that, at Twin Peaks, Period 7 (July) annualized at $4.7M and Periods 5 through 7 annualized at $5.1M, compared to $4.5M in 2019 and $4.4M in 2018. Furthermore, Same Store Sales at Twin Peaks, compared to 2019, turned positive by 0.6% in P2,’21, and have increased every month to a positive 17.8% in P7’21.

The data points provided above, along with previously discussed development pipeline and unit openings, indicate that the third quarter should be encouraging to both equity and debt investors.

LD MICRO CONFERENCE on October 12th – WIEDERHORN COMMENTARY

CEO, Andrew Wiederhorn, pointed out that the development pipeline, across all brands is about 300 units, to be developed over the next four to five years, expected to grow the portfolio organically at 5-10% annually. The most recently acquired Twin Peaks, now 84 units, is expected to add eighteen restaurants in the next nine months, two thirds of which will be franchised. There are sixteen different franchisees within the Twin Peaks system. The Twin Peaks locations, without tenant allowances, cost $5-6M each, but sale/leaseback transactions generally reduce the out of pocket investment to approximately $2M, on which the franchisee can earn close to $1M annually, or a 50% cash on cash return. Wiederhorn expects that Twin Peaks can grow from the 100 unit level, to be achieved within a year, to double or triple that number over time.

CONCLUSION

FAT Brands is improving the quality of acquisitions over time, reflecting the growing level of acceptance from the lending community. Since FAT Brands came public in 2017 each  of the major brands that have been added have represented not only an expansion to the portfolio but an upgrade relative to stability and growth. While a number of smaller brands were acquired as well, Hurricane Grill and Wings was followed by Johnny Rockets, followed by Round Table Pizza and, most recently, Twin Peaks. Unit growth potential has been increasingly evident, especially so with Twin Peaks. The near term objective of $80M in EBITDA during post-Covid 2022 has been paid for with $750M of securitized funding at an average of about 7%, or $50M of interest expense. The current portfolio, without considering growth, would therefore be throwing off about $30M of free cash flow in the next year or so, about $2.50 per common share, hopefully more over time. At the same time, the Company has demonstrated an ability to refinance its early securitizations at reduced rates, has indicated an expectation to do the same in the future, which obviously increases the potential free cash flow from the current portfolio. As this strategy comes to fruition, the credibility of FAT common stock could obviously sell at a much higher level.

Roger Lipton

FAT BRANDS (FAT) ANNOUNCES POTENTIALLY TRANSFORMATIVE ACQUISITION

FAT BRANDS (FAT) ANNOUNCES POTENTIALLY TRANSFORMATIVE ACQUISITION

FAT BRANDS ANNOUNCES A POTENTIALLY TRANSFORMATIVE PLANNED ACQUISITION

FAT Brands (FAT) announced this morning an agreement to acquire Global Franchise Group (GLG), which is the franchisor and operator of five quick service concepts: Round Table Pizza, Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick, Marble Slab Creamery and Pretzelmaker. This appears to be a potentially transformative transaction for FAT Brands, a rapidly emerging multi-brand franchisor of quick service and fast casual restaurant concepts.

We refer readers to our previous articles describing FAT Brands (use the SEARCH function on our Home Page). In summation, FAT currently owns nine restaurant brands: Fatburger, Johnny Rockets, Buffalo’s Café, Buffalo’s Express, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Elevation Burger, Yalla Mediterranean, Ponderosa and Bonanza steakhouses. Of note is that FAT Brands approximately doubled the size of their portfolio with the acquisition last September of Johnny Rockets. Of equal importance is that a new securitized credit line raised $144M this past spring, reducing the interest rate on the existing long term debt by about 300 bp to 5.92%, while providing about $50M for future acquisitions.

The new transaction appears to be transformative in terms of scale and cash flow generation per share. There is no doubt a great deal more information to be provided to shareholders but today’s release indicates that systemwide sales for the FAT portfolio will approximately double to $1.4B. Management stated this morning that “the acquisition is expected to eventually increase annual EBITDA by approximately $40M to approximately $55-$60 million….the five new restaurant concepts have been very resilient coming out of the pandemic….furthermore we will acquire GFG’s manufacturing operations, which will provide greater efficiencies and incremental revenue opportunity to our company.”

We have provided a table below which, based on the guidance so far provided, appears to more than double the free cash flow per share of FAT Brands. We took the current post pandemic guidance of $15-20M of EBITDA, and added the $40M from GFG, subtracting our estimate of new debt expense (@5.92%) and newly issued preferred dividends (at 8.25%). As the table shows, FAT free cash flow generation could grow from about $0.84/share to $1.70/share. This estimate is admittedly rough, based on a limited amount of information so far available, but provides an order of magnitude of the acquisition’s effect.

FAT Brands common stock, while trading at an all time high, is selling at an obviously modest level relative to the new potential $1.70 of FCF per share, about double previous expectations.

Roger Lipton

FAT BRANDS RECRUITES SEVERAL EXPERIENCED EXECUTIVES, INCLUDING CFO, ANNOUNCES $500M SHELF REGISTRATION, INCLUDING IMMEDIATE UNDERWRITING OF $10M PREFERRED STOCK

FAT BRANDS RECRUITES SEVERAL EXPERIENCED EXECUTIVES, INCLUDING CFO, ANNOUNCES $500M SHELF REGISTRATION, INCLUDING IMMEDIATE UNDERWRITING OF $10M PREFERRED STOCK

There have been several recent significant announcements for FAT Brands, Inc. (FAT), a rapidly growing multi-brand restaurant franchisor that is within reach, in the next 12-24 months, of $1B in portfolio systemwide sales.

MANAGEMENT ADDITIONS:

From a financial and operational standpoint:

Ken Kuick, 52 years of age, previously CFO at Noodles & Company (NDLS), a publicly held company with 448 restaurants (372 company operated and 76 franchised) has been appointed CFO at FAT Brands, effective immediately. Kuick’s background, especially with the improved positioning of NDLS over the last several years, and their recent emphasis on digital ordering, qualifies him especially well for the position at FAT. Moreover, his decision, as well as that of Sussman and Rosen, described below, to join the rapidly growing FAT Brands, is a testimonial to their view of FAT’s future.

From a legal standpoint:

Allen Sussman, previously with Loeb & Loeb LLP in L.A., is newly appointed as General Counsel. At Loeb & Loeb he was a partner in the Capital Markets and Corporate Practice Groups, shepherding FAT through its IPO and acquisitions.

From an investment capital standpoint:

Rob Rosen has been added as EVP Capital Markets. Rosen has over 30 years of experience in structured finance, banking and lending, working with Fleet Bank, Kidder Peabody, The Bank of Tokyo and Black Diamond Capital Management

CAPITAL PLANS:

Separately, FAT Brands filed an S-1 shelf registration for a total of up to $500M of corporate securities, to be sold “from time to time”. The mix of offering is mostly to be defined, covering common stock, preferred stock, debt, warrants, subscription rights, and units.

Also filed is a registration for an underwritten offering of $10M worth of FAT’s Series B 8.25% cumulative preferred stock. There is currently $21M of this preferred (FATBP) outstanding.

The executive additions and financial announcements referenced above are obviously in support of the management’s announced intention of adding, within a matter of months, to their seven franchised restaurant brands.

Roger Lipton

FAT BRANDS (FAT) ANNOUNCES FIRST QUARTER (3/28/21) RESULTS – EMERGING MULTI-BRAND FRANCHISOR CONTINUES TO MAKE PROGRESS

FAT BRANDS (FAT) ANNOUNCES FIRST QUARTER (3/28/21) RESULTS – EMERGING MULTI-BRAND FRANCHISOR CONTINUES TO MAKE PROGRESS

CONCLUSION:

FAT Brands (FAT) continues to grow its multi-branded system of franchised restaurants, now with 650 franchised stores in their portfolio, and the ability to grow much further. The recently reported first quarter, obviously still affected by the Covid pandemic, was in line with expectations and sets the stage for growth within the current portfolio and the acquisition of additional brands in the near future. As we have written in the past (use the SEARCH function on our Home Page), the Balance Sheet, while leveraged, seems manageable. Based on expectation of normalized post-pandemic cash flow, lenders are prepared to go further. The Enterprise Value of FAT seems high on the surface relative to reported results, but post-pandemic expectations indicate that the Enterprise Value is substantially below larger multi-branded peers. If results come through as expected, the valuation spread should narrow.

THE FIRST QUARTER

FAT Brands reported operating results for the quarter ending 3/31/21, with progress on multiple fronts. It should be noted that gross revenues and bottom line results are heavily influenced by the acquisition in September, 2020 of Johnny Rockets, which substantially increased the total number of franchised locations within the FAT portfolio.

Compared to Q1/20: Total Revenues were up 50% to $6.6M, System-wide sales growth was 35.3%. U.S sales growth was 28.1%, Rest of World sales growth was even higher, at 54.2%, because Johnny Rockets is more developed outside of the US. System-wide same store sales growth was 7.8%, US SSS was 7.8%. Rest of World SSS was up 4.9%. Income from Operations was $104k vs. a loss of $578k in ’20. After higher interest ($2.748M vs. $2.074M) and a couple of minor changes, the GAAP net loss was flat at $2.43M vs. $2.37. Corporate EBITDA was $585k vs. an EBITDA loss of $362k in Q1’20.  Adjusted EBITDA was $1.1M vs. $283k. Within the first quarter, advertising expense was $1.2M vs. $.9M, refranchising losses were down 100k to $0.4M, G&A was $4.9M vs. $3.5M, which included increases in compensation and legal expenses, partially offset by lower accounting and T&E. Overall, as expanded upon with commentary from the conference call below, results were consistent with expectations and set the stage for more normalized results as ’21 unfolds.

The balance sheet at 3/28/20 does not reflect the major transaction, with affiliate, Fog Cutter Capital, pending in Q2, but does reflect the completion of an offering of $144M of Fixed Rate Asset-Backed Notes. As the Company has described before, and we have written about, the new financing reduces the average fixed interest rate of the debt from 8.75% to 5.92%. The further availability of similar capital, as well as the merger, set the stage for the addition of more franchising brands.

THE CONFERENCE CALL

As pointed out on the conference call, the strongest brands in Q1 were Fatburger, Buffalo’s and Hurricane Grill, with system-wide sales growth of 18%, 19% and 16% respectively. SSS at those brands were also up: 6%, 26% and 20% respectively. Very importantly, versus Q1’19: Buffalo’s increased 9% and Hurricane Grill was up 10%. The pandemic was still an important influence on results as 107 locations were still closed, primarily at Johnny Rockets’ special venues and within the Ponderosa/Bonanza steakhouse brands.

The total store count was 651 system-wide at 3/31, with 5 locations opened in Q1, 3 more since then, and another 36 to come in ’21. FAT still has 107 temporarily closed locations, expected to reopen in Q2/Q3.  In addition to previously announced multi-unit deals in France, Kuwait and Africa, new development agreements have been signed in California, Arizona and Mexico.

Management reiterated, and updated their previous guidance, including the acquisition of Johnny Rockets, in a normalized post-Covid environment. Expectations are based on demonstrated results from calendar ’19, with the addition of a full year from Elevation Burger (acquired in mid ’19) and the most important contribution from Johnny Rockets. As presented by CEO, Andy Wiederhorn, had the pandemic not come along, revenues without Johnny Rockets would have been $23.5-$24.0M in ’20 and Johnny Rockets would have added $10-12M, for normalized total Revenues of $34-$36M. 2019 Adjusted EBITDA in ’19 was $7.9M, a full year from Elevation Burger would have brought that close to $9M and Johnny Rockets would have added an additional $9-10M. Total normalized EBITDA would therefore be $18-20M once the pandemic is out of the way. Management best guess seems to be that results will normalize by Q4’21 or Q1’22.

Relative to growth in units, management suggested that the expected 40-50 new locations in ’21, while gratifying, has no doubt been reduced by the pandemic. Therefore, with sales steadily improving as the worldwide pandemic winds down, a normalized environment should at least match that pace in ’22 and beyond.

Lastly, management reiterated their active consideration of further acquisitions, and the expectation that a transaction will be concluded in a matter of months. More capital is available from lenders, so cash, the common stock, and the 8.25% preferred stock, could all be potential currency.

CONCLUSION: Provided at the beginning of this article

FAT BRANDS, INC. (FAT) – REPORTS CALENDAR ’20 RESULTS and UPDATES GUIDANCE!

FAT BRANDS, INC. (FAT) – REPORTS CALENDAR ’20 RESULTS and UPDATES GUIDANCE!

CONCLUSION:

FAT Brands (FAT) reported  calendar ‘20 results last week, including an update on trends to date in Q1’21. Calendar 2020 was substantially distorted by Covid-19, but management of FAT Brands managed well, operationally and financially, completing a major acquisition, productively merging with their affiliated parent company, and enlarging the balance sheet to allow for further expansion. As the post-pandemic restaurant world unfolds, FAT Brands will have over 700 franchised locations among their current nine brands, planned positive same store sales with about 10% new unit growth, normalized annual EBITDA approaching $20M and ongoing acquisition opportunities. The current leveraged balance sheet is manageable based on projections and management seems to have credibility with the lending community. In terms of valuation, current Enterprise Value approaching $200M is admittedly expensive relative to history, but compared, to estimated post-pandemic EBITDA from the current portfolio of brands, it is only about half of its larger peers.

BACKGROUND

One of the best performing restaurant stocks in calendar ’20 was FAT Brands (FAT), approximately tripling from $2.00 to $6.00. From the low of about $1.00 in late March’20, it has been above $10.00 recently, and a ten bagger from low to high within twelve months is likely worth studying, at the very least.  We established coverage of FAT Brands (FAT) in January, and our basic report is accessible by SEARCHing for FAT on our Home Page or clicking through the link just below:

https://www.liptonfinancialservices.com/2021/01/fat-brands-inc-fat-new-research-coverage-established/

California based FAT Brands (FAT) has established a franchising platform that supported, as of 12/31/20, 679 locations. The most important of the nine brands, in terms of current size and expected growth, are Fatburger and Johnny Rockets. Also growing, though smaller, are Buffalo’s Café (and Buffalo’s Express), Hurricane Grill & Wings, Yalla Mediterranean, and Elevation Burger. Currently least important, with admittedly unreliable prospects, are Ponderosa and Bonanza. The briefest summary is that FAT Brands has emerged as a diversified franchisor, with a post pandemic normalized EBITDA that should, according to management, approach $20M. The balance sheet, though leveraged relative to historical results, seems manageable once general economic conditions normalize and current sales improvement supports that expectation. Moreover, most of the $93M of long term debt may be renegotiated with a lower interest rate.

THE RESULTS, AND THE EXPECTATIONS

We will summarize below (1) The operating results for calendar ’20. (2) The progress in terms of systemwide unit growth (3) The balance sheet expansion over the last twelve months (4) The significant merger with previous affiliate, Fog Cutter Capital (5) The current situation in terms of same store sales and indications of organic growth (6) Management guidance relative to balance sheet improvement, further acquisitions and post-pandemic corporate EBITDA.

(1)There was obviously a great deal of pandemic-related “noise” in calendar ’20, continuing into early ’21, as well as operating Adjustments relating to financing progress and acquisitions. Accordingly, we will describe the GAAP results, as well as the Adjustments leading to Adjusted EBITDA for the year. The Net Operating Loss for the year was $14.9M. Working toward Adjusted EBITDA: add major Adjustments such as: impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets of $9.3M, a net loss of $3.8M from re-franchising, $1.7M from a mismatch of franchise advertising expenses vs. receipts, acquisition costs of $1.2M, depreciation of $1.2M, and interest expense of $4.9M, partially offset by income tax benefit of $3.7M, a change in fair value of derivative liability of $0.9M and a gain on contingent consideration payable  of $1.7M, and a few less material addbacks, works down to an Adjusted positive EBITDA of $1.4M for the year.

The year’s results were substantially affected, not only by the pandemic but by the acquisition in September of Johnny Rockets, which almost doubled the number of locations under the FAT franchising umbrella, so fourth quarter revenues were easily the best of the year. Most important, as presented in the year end Investor Presentation, companywide same store sales, for stores open during both periods and owned for over a year, steadily improved from a low of minus 30.1% in Q2 to a negative 9.4% in Q4. Management indicated on the conference call that sales have continued to improve in Q1’20 and the Investor Presentation shows system wide sales growing steadily from $7.9M weekly in January to $9.6M in the week ending 3/14.

(2) Unit growth proceeded in calendar ‘20, in spite of the pandemic, with 62 new openings in the year, 29 in Q4 alone, both of which include Johnny Rockets prior to ownership. In recent months new multi-unit development deals in France, Kuwait , Congo, Illinois, D.C., California, Arizona and Alabama call for up to 56 new locations, and the total pipeline is over 200 units. Management indicated on the conference call that 34 locations are currently under construction and 10% annual growth (about 70 stores) is the objective.

(3)The balance sheet was substantially expanded, as a new $40M facility (with a weighted average interest rate of 8.75%) was put in place in September, for working capital and to fund the acquisition of Johnny Rockets. Long Term Debt, including $19M within current obligations, is $93M. A year earlier, that total was just under $30M. There is a total of $38M in Preferred Equity as well. Management indicated their expectation of refinancing a major portion of the total of $85M in notes with substantially better terms. As we said above, the debt, while substantial based on historical results, is manageable relative to normalized post-pandemic EBITDA, and current sales improvement supports that expectation.

(4)The recent merger with Fog Cutter Capital Group was a significant corporate event.  It increased the FAT public float to 44% of the fully diluted shares. By merging the entities, FAT stock becomes available for acquisition, because Fog Cutter no longer needs at least 80% of ownership to maintain their $100M of tax loss carryforward, which protected their share of FAT income. Critically, that NOL now protects FAT income from future taxes. Fog Cutter Capital, now owns 58.4% of voting power of common stock.

Full disclosure: as disclosed in the 10-K filing, there are a handful of litigation items, none of which involve restaurant operations. Per the 10-K, “the Company does not believe that resolution will result…material adverse effect….but has accrued $5.68M for the matters mentioned above..”

(5) As mentioned above, same store sales have been steadily improving, there is a strong development pipeline, and new store growth is guided to about 10% annually. As indicated on the conference call, most of the unit growth is coming from the two largest brands, Fatburger and Johnny Rockets. The notable laggards, as the pandemic runs it course, are Ponderosa and Bonanza.

A particular highly successful operational focus at Fatburger/Buffalo Express has been the use of Chowly (a POS integrator for third party delivery) and well as HNGR for native online-ordering and delivery-as a service. Total Delivery and To-Go Sales at Fatburger moved from .95M in January ’20 to $1.3M in August, popped to $1.8M with Chowly and HNGR in September, and hit a new high of $2.1M in December.

(6) Management continues to move expeditiously to expand their platform, by way of organic growth (a 10% unit growth objective) as well as acquisition of other brands. To that end, a further expansion of the balance sheet is planned within the next six months, raising more capital as well as reducing the interest rate.  Systemwide sales were over $107M in Q4, and, based on the numbers through 3/14/21, as shown in the Investor Presentation, should be $120M or higher in Q1’21. In terms of EBITDA guidance, management continues to use 2019 pre-pandemic, pre-Johnny Rockets, Adjusted EBITDA as a base run rate, and that was $7.7M. Elevation Burger was largely absent from that base, which would add about $1.3M more, The addition of about $9.0M from Johnny Rockets provides a base case of $18M of Adjusted EBITDA once the pandemic has run its course.

CONCLUSION: Provided at the beginning of this article

FAT BRANDS, INC. (FAT) – RESEARCH COVERAGE TO BE ESTABLISHED IN JANUARY, 2021

FAT BRANDS, INC. (FAT) – RESEARCH COVERAGE TO BE ESTABLISHED IN JANUARY, 2021

Fat Brands, Inc. (FAT) has been publicly held since late 2017, with only about two million shares publicly outstanding and over 80% of the total owned by Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc. Management has had the objective of establishing a platform to support a portfolio of restaurant franchising companies to spread the administrative and promotional costs, as well as use best practices to improve the individual brands.

The first brand owned was namesake, California based Fatburger. The Company, as of 12/31/2019 owned 9 brands: Fatburger, Johnny Rocket’s, Buffalo’s Café, Buffalo’s Express, Hurricane Grill and Wings, Elevation Burger, Yalla Mediterranean, Ponderosa & Bonanza, together franchising over 700 units worldwide.

There has been limited interest in this small capitalization franchising company over the last three years, but there have been several important fundamental developments within the last six months that have substantially enlarged the Company and could broaden the following. The developments are: (1) Purchase of Johnny Rocket’s (2) New long term financing (3) Recently announced merger with parent Company, Fog Cutter.

(1) Johnny Rocket’s, with 322 total operating locations (almost all franchised) increased the total number of systemwide locations in the FAT portfolio to 702.

(2) The Company raised $89M during  Q2 and Q3, by securitization of future royalties, and the issuance of preferred stock, which not only paid for Johnny Rocket’s ($25M) but has provided a structure for future acquisitions.

(3) The Company announced last week a plan to merge with Fog Cutter Capital. FAT will be the surviving Company and individual shareholders of Fog Cutter will own common shares of FAT with the total outstanding unchanged. Presumably to offset the elimination of the $38M receivable from Fog Cutter, each share of FAT common will receive .232 shares of FAT Brands’ 8.25% Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock (FATBP) which have recently been trading in the area of $18-20/share.

The most important advantages of the Fog Cutter transaction are (1) Fog Cutter no longer has to own over 80% of FAT to maintain its $100M tax loss carryforward, so FAT can use its stock for acquisitions (2) FAT gets the use of the tax loss carryforward (3) The public float of FAT increases to 46% of the fully diluted shares (4) Intercompany balance sheet items are eliminated.

We intend to present a more extensive analysis of Fat Brands, Inc. in early 2021. For the moment, the Company’s recent Investor Presentation has indicated that Pro Forma 2019 Royalties increased by 91% to $28.5M with the acquisition of Johnny Rocket’s. Without Johnny Rocket’s, royalties increased 23% to $14.9M and Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA was up 54% to $7.7M. While 2020’s Covid-related limitations have predictably affected results, a total of 57 new locations will have opened across the portfolio, up from 52 in 2019. A total of six ghost kitchens will also have opened. Management has indicated that the post-covid projected EBITDA should be in the area of $14.5M on $33.8M of revenue. From a balance sheet standpoint, the post-merger total debt will be $85M and there will be a total of $38M in Preferred stock. As of 9/30/20 there is $12M of cash on the balance sheet.

We have been impressed by management’s ability to successfully establish a portfolio of brands that, in anything like a normal environment, can collectively provide a predictable stream of royalty revenues. The balance sheet is leveraged but seems manageable based on expectations. Assuming expectations prove to be realistic, management’s demonstrated financial agility should allow them to raise capital even more opportunistically and build on the current base.

We look forward to covering this evolving multi-brand franchising situation and will report further to our readers in early 2021.

Roger Lipton

FAT BRANDS INC. (FAT) TO ACQUIRE PRIVATELY HELD JOHNNY ROCKETS – WHY AND HOW??

FAT BRANDS INC. (FAT) TO ACQUIRE PRIVATELY HELD JOHNNY ROCKETS – WHY NAD HOW, AND WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK?

FAT BRANDS INC (FAT), led by CEO, Andrew Wiederhorn, has assembled a group of internationally franchised brands, some better known than others but all of them challenged to varying degrees in recent years. The theory is to leverage operating expertise, marketing power, purchasing scale and administrative costs over independent brands, using an asset light franchising approach (zero company operated locations). Wiederhorn is the controlling shareholder of Fog Cutter Capital Group, Inc., which owns 81% of the common stock of FAT.

The liberal use of debt and preferred stock, as outlined just below, has allowed for the current ownership of:

Fatburger, a burger chain, founded in Los Angeles in 1947, now 168 locations, including 101 co-branded

Buffalo’s, casual dining, wings and classic American platters, GA founded in 1985, now 18 locations

Ponderosa & Bonanza steakhouse, founded in 1960s, now 83 locations

Hurricane Grill & Wings, casual dining, chicken wings, FL  founding in 1995, now 49 locations

Yalla, fast casual, healthy Mediterranean, now 7 locations

Elevation Burger, fast casual with grass fed and organic burgers, 2002 founding, now 41 locations

Systemwide sales in 2019 of these 366 locations (@ 6/30/20) was $395M.

BALANCE SHEET DISCUSSION:

As of 12/31/2019 shareholders’ equity was $5.4M (including goodwill and intangible assets of $55M). Preferred A stock obligation amounted to $15.3M. The current portion of long term debt was $24.5M and the remaining long term portion was $5.2M. Due from affiliates was $26M. The current ratio consisted of $10.5M of current assets and $45.6M of current liabilities.

By 6/30/2020, the balance sheet reflected shareholders’ equity of negative $3.5M (including goodwill and intangible assets of $37M). The Preferred A stock amounted to $15.5M. The current portion of long term debt was reduced to $661k, with the long term portion amounting to $43.9M. Due from affiliates was $34.7M. The current ratio had improved to reflect $10M of current assets against a much reduced $21M of current liabilities. The previous Long Term Debt had been replaced by a face amount of $40M of “Securitization Notes”, netting $37.3M after expenses and discounts, to be repaid from royalties as received. The blended average cash interest rate is 7.75%, which reduces the total weighted average cash cost of debt to 8.49%, decreasing annual interest expense by almost $2M per year.  There is also an “Accordion” feature, allowing for additional acquisition related borrowing.

Post the second quarter, on 7/13/20 FAT raised $8.2M from the sale of 8.25% Series B Preferred Shares and warrants exercisable at $5.00/share. Subsequent to this offering FAT entered into an Agreement to redeem and cancel the remaining Series A Preferred shares. The result was equity increased by $15M, with insiders converting $3M of Series A and accrued dividends into Series B Preferred. Also retired was warrants, exercisable at $7.20, to acquire 554,065 shares.

A VERY QUICK OPERATIONAL LOOK

The first half of calendar ’20 is obviously distorted by the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the Adjusted EBITDA was a negative $361k. More importantly, the Adjusted EBITDA in calendar ’19 was $7.7M. The Company’s recent presentation talks about 41 additional Fatburger locations since acquisition, integration of Elevation Burger onto the the Fatburger operating platform, a turnaround in Hurricane Grill, from a negative 4.7% comp prior to acquisition to +6.4% in calendar ’19, including +8.3% in Q4’19. The overall portfolio store count has increased from 286 in calendar 2017 to 374 by 12/19 (including acquisitions). Most importantly, demonstrating the efficiency of the multi-brand platform, Total Costs and Expenses as a % of Revenues has come down from 97.7% in ’17 to 62.4% in ’19. It is on this basis that the Company raised $40M with their Securitization and, most recently in Q3, the additional $8.2M.

THE JOHNNY ROCKETS DEAL

This “iconic brand”, as FAT management now terms it, has over 300 locations, spread over 129 individual franchise owners, which will bring the FAT portfolio to over 700 units in total. The new systemwide expectation of over $700M implies that the Johnny Rockets locations are expected to annualize at something like $1M per store. The purchase price is $25M, which will paid for by cash on hand plus the Accordion feature of the recent securitization. FAT management stated that they expect this acquisition to allow them to double their current (in calendar ’19) Adjusted EBITDA of $7.7M. The brief audio “conference call”, with no Q&A, described how FAT can leverage their operating platform with new purchasing power of $250M annually (about 30% or so of $700M), marketing (produced and booked internally at FAT), virtual restaurant offerings, dual branding and FAT’s knowledge of “the burger business”.

WHY WOULD SUN CAPITAL SELL ?

It is reasonable that Johnny Rockets, which is, indeed, a well known brand, could be reincarnated, even if reduced in size after the pandemic, under the right leadership. However, if it is so promising, why would Sun Capital let it go for $25M, especially when FAT management says it is capable of generating $7 or $8M of EBITDA.

Our guess is that Johnny Rockets is generating no more than a couple of million dollars for Sun Capital, perhaps not much more than breaking even. Sun bought it from RedZone Capital in 2013, who had bought it in 2007. After thirteen years in private equity hands, you can bet that the energy provided by early management is long gone. It is “just a name” to Sun Capital, to be bought and sold, and the $25M can be applied elsewhere. Private equity firms always have liquidity concerns as well, so that might come into play here. If Johnny Rockets is breaking even to earning perhaps $2M for Sun Capital, Fat Brands could probably “adjust” that to a current million or two, and believe they can leverage that over a couple of years to six or seven million of EBITDA. Even if it takes longer, and amounts to only $5M, it would be a worthwhile ROI for FAT. A lot more than their cost of capital. So…..the seller is tired…..and the buyer is optimistic….and liquid enough….and that’s how deals get done.

Let’s watch.

Roger Lipton