THE private equity binge has extended to the fast food industry, with a Sydney fund backing Australian Fast Foods Pty Ltd managing director Frank Romano in a $180 million deal, buying out major shareholder Nick Tana. Quadrant Private Equity will become the majority shareholder in AFF, which operates about 450 Red Rooster and Chicken Treat outlets across Australia. The plan is to increase store numbers by 30 per cent and list on the stock market by the end of the decade. Quadrant will acquire a 75 per cent interest in AFF, while Mr Romano will retain a 15 per cent shareholding. The remaining 10 per cent stake will be held by four senior managers – chief financial officer Mark Lindsay, general manager Nick Sworder, marketing chief Leanne Anderson, and Brisbane executive Gary Martin. “The business needs to go to another level and needs some new management. There are some good young people who deserve a slice of equity,” Mr Romano said.
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