Fairfax’s Cara Operations closes $23.6M acquisition of Pickle Barrel

Photo of author

By Ted Liu

Cara Operations Limited (TSX: CARA), a portfolio company of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (TSX: FFH), has completed previously announced acquisition of Pickle Barrel Group of Restaurants. The transaction closed on November 30, 2017.

Cara Operations paid $23.6 million, consisting of cash, the issue of subordinate voting shares, and the assumption of debt of approximately $5.4 million.

The acquisition of Pickle Barrel adds another established Canadian brand to Cara’s portfolio of restaurants. The addition of Pickle Barrel helps expand Cara’s portfolio further into shopping centers where, aside from New York Fries, Cara’s brands have limited presence. Pickle Barrel’s successful catering business also adds a new sales channel for Cara.

Peter Higley, President of Pickle Barrel, commented, “We’re excited to be a part of Cara – Cara has a track record of bringing respected brands into its network and, through its scale and resources, supporting those business to improve and grow. Our main focus will continue to be on strengthening our already successful restaurants and catering businesses.” Peter Higley will join Cara’s Executive Leadership Team and will continue to lead and operate the Pickle Barrel Group within Cara.

Cara’s Chief Executive Officer, Bill Gregson, commented, “We will begin combining our scale and expertise in pursuit of synergies while at the same time relying on Pickle Barrel’s proven management team, headed by Peter Higley, to operate its restaurants and catering businesses. Pickle Barrel is a great brand with broad appeal.”

Pickle Barrel was founded in 1971 and today it 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 12 restaurants. 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. Since 1971, Pickle Barrel’s catering business, with its fleet of refrigerated trucks, has catered over 1.2 million events, specializing in occasions that range from casual barbecues and picnics to elegant parties and fine dining affairs.

photo credit: Pickle Barrel