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FFL Partners is exploring options, including a sale, for fast-food chain Church’s Chicken, according to people familiar with the matter. The San Francisco-based firm is working with an adviser to drum up interest from potential buyers for the chain. It’s seeking around $350 million or more in any transaction, said the people. Representative for FFL and Church’s declined to comment. FFL, formerly known as Friedman Fleischer & Lowe, bought Church’s in 2009 from Bahrain’s Arcapita Bank BSC. At the time, the Financial Times estimated the deal’s value at about $390 million. Church’s traces its roots to a single store across the street from the Alamo in San Antonio that was opened by George W. Church in 1952. The company, which is branded as Texas Chicken outside the Americas, has more than 1,500 locations in 29 U.S. states and more than 20 countries, with annual revenue of more than $1 billion, according to its website. That makes it one of the world’s largest quick-service restaurant chicken chains. Fast-food restaurants are struggling to boost sales in a fiercely competitive environment where giants including McDonald’s Corp. and Yum! Brands Inc.’s KFC are advertising steep discounts. The U.S. dining industry is also facing rising labor and protein costs, while additional pressure is coming from customers’ demand for greater convenience, which can only be met by investment in delivery and new technology. Church’s Chief Executive Officer Joe Christina started in late 2016 and has since worked to improve operations and update the chain’s image domestically. Church’s is now expanding delivery and plans to offer the service in about 900 U.S. locations by the end of this year. Source: Bloomberg.

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