Bankrupt franchisee of Pizza Hut, Wendy’s restaurants to be purchased by major group

A major restaurant franchisee is getting ready to stuff its crust with hundreds of Pizza Hut and Wendy’s locations it plans to buy from their bankrupt owner.

NPC International has agreed to sell all of its approximately 925 Pizza Hut restaurants and about 225 of its 383 Wendy’s restaurants to Flynn Restaurant Group. The rest of the Wendy’s locations it owns will be sold to Wendy’s International in a pair of deals worth a combined $801 million, NPC announced Thursday.

Flynn is the largest restaurant franchisee in the U.S., operating 460 Applebee’s, 282 Taco Bell, 134 Panera Bread and 369 Arby’s locations.

The deals, which are still pending approval from a judge, would see Flynn operating more than 2,350 restaurants with 70,000 employees and $3.5 billion in sales, while allowing NPC to complete its Chapter 11 restructuring.

“Flynn Restaurant Group has built our business over the last 20-plus years by focusing on managing superior operations with great teams of people at premier restaurant concepts,” Greg Flynn, founder, chairman and CEO of the company, said in a written statement. “The Pizza Hut and Wendy’s restaurants we have agreed to acquire from NPC align perfectly with this strategy, and we’re confident that our new team members will fit right in at Flynn Restaurant Group.”

The buyers will offer jobs to all of the restaurants’ employees. Wendy’s International will make the locations it acquires available to five of its current franchisees.

Carl Hauch, president and CEO of NPC’s Wendy’s division, called the deals “an excellent outcome.”

“We are very pleased that our restaurants will be joining the ranks of established, high performing restaurant franchise groups,” he said in a written statement.

NPC, the largest franchisee of both Pizza Hut and Wendy’s and overall second-largest restaurant franchisee in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection last summer after missing interest payments on $800 million in loans in January, even before the coronavirus pandemic had disrupted the restaurant industry.

Wendy’s will make the locations it acquires available to five of its current franchisees.

The bankrupt franchisee said in November that it was in talks with Flynn to sell all of its restaurants for as much as $816 million.

A federal bankruptcy judge will consider the proposed deals during a Jan. 15 hearing. Pending the judge’s approval, the companies are aiming to close the deal by the second quarter of the year.