In 1983, James (Jimmy) John Liautaud started Jimmy John’s, a gourmet sandwich shop specializing in quick delivery of great tasting sandwiches. In order to keep pace with the company’s popularity and expansion plans, Jimmy sought legal counsel as how to best proceed.
Freeborn helped Jimmy to assess the numerous options that would help to fund Jimmy John’s explosive growth and provide the strategic support that would ensure that such growth was achieved efficiently. Options included a dividend recapitalization, a sale of the company, raising private investment funds and staging the company to go public. However, after an introduction by Freeborn to David Jacquin of North Point Advisors, it was finally settled that Jimmy John’s would look for a private equity investor.
Ultimately, Jimmy accepted the proposal of a minority investment from the private equity firm Weston Presidio. At that point Freeborn worked closely with Jimmy John’s over the next several months to structure the deal and negotiate final terms. In preparation for the investment by Western Presido, Freeborn also assisted Jimmy John’s in a reorganization of its corporate structure, tax planning, franchisee issues and equity compensation. Key to the deal was ensuring that Jimmy would be able to grow his company and pursue his vision, but also benefit from the insight of an invested partner. Freeborn was a one-stop resource for Jimmy and his team.
Having strong professional partners to address the legal details allowed Jimmy to focus on Jimmy John’s national roll-out, commitment to organizational excellence, franchisees’ success and, most importantly, delivering on its customers’ need for fast, great subs! After the consummation of Weston Presidio’s investment, and with the help of Jimmy’s professional team members, Jimmy John’s has grown from approximately 475 stores in 34 states in early 2007 to more than 1,200 stores today — an average of more than 200 new stores opened per year in each of the last three years.