Fairfax Financial’s Cara to acquire Pickle Barrel Group

Photo of author

By Ted Liu

Cara Operations Limited (TSX: CARA), a portfolio company of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (TSX: FFH), has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the Pickle Barrel Group of Restaurants.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Cara is acquiring Pickle Barrel for cash consideration which will be funded through Cara’s existing credit facility. The transaction is anticipated to close by the end of the year.

Cara Operations is backed and continues to be controlled Fairfax Financial. Fairfax Financial and The Phelan family through their holdings of multiple voting shares and subordinate voting shares control 56.6% and 40.9% of total votes respectively.

Founded in 1971, Pickle Barrel has 12 corporately-owned restaurants in highly sought after locations along with a thriving catering business, all across the Greater Toronto Area. Pickle Barrel generates approximately $50 million a year in sales through its 11 Pickle Barrel restaurants and 1 Glow Fresh Grill & Wine Bar. It also has a significant catering business through Pickle Barrel catering as well as through a 50% interest in Rose Reisman Catering. Rose Reisman Catering is a menu development, catering and individual meal delivery business that is focused on health and wellness – it has been a popular and growing alternative in the Greater Toronto Area for over 20 years.

Peter Higley, who has been running Pickle Barrel since 1992 and who is the current President of Pickle Barrel commented, “We’re extremely excited to be joining Cara – its behind the scenes support will allow us to focus on strengthening our already successful restaurant and catering businesses, scaling them even faster in the years ahead”.

Higley will join Cara’s Executive Leadership Team and will continue to lead and operate the Pickle Barrel Group within Cara. Pickle Barrel’s head office and operations team office will be relocated to Cara’s existing head office in Vaughan, Ontario and its business and back-end processes will be integrated into Cara’s over the course of the next 12 months.

Pickle Barrel’s successful catering business also adds a new sales channel for Cara. Catering will be added to Cara’s existing quick-service, full-service, dine-in, off-premise and retail-grocery food offerings.

Cara’s Chief Executive Officer, Bill Gregson, commented, “We view our investment in Pickle Barrel as an opportunity to partner with a proven management team who has a strong track record of operating profitable restaurants and catering businesses under both the Pickle Barrel and Rose Reisman brands. This acquisition is accretive for our shareholders”.

photo credit: Pickle Barrel