Argonne Capital Group Completes Recapitalization of Major IHOP Operator

Argonne Capital Group, LLC announced the completion of two recapitalizations and added to its executive ranks as the firm institutionalizes and seeks to propel future growth.

Argonne Capital Group, LLC (“Argonne”) completed a recapitalization of National Fitness Partners (“NFP”), an Argonne portfolio company since 2016 that is now one of the largest franchisees of Planet Fitness. Separately, Argonne completed a recapitalization of Sunshine Restaurant Partners (“SRP”), an Argonne portfolio company since 2007 and the master licensee for IHOP for the entire state of Florida and southern Georgia.  In connection with both the SRP transaction and the NFP transaction, affiliates of Argonne will continue to manage the respective SRP and NFP vehicles. On a combined basis, these two transactions represented more than $1 billion in new equity commitments. 

“We are excited to have closed two transformational deals, especially amid challenging market conditions,” says Michael Klump, Founder and Chairman of Argonne. “These transactions delivered successful outcomes for existing investors while enabling Argonne, our management teams and a new consortium of investors to benefit from the continued growth of the iconic IHOP and Planet Fitness brands.”   

Since its founding in 2003, Argonne has invested over $2 billion of equity capital in a variety of small-to-medium sized companies across a diverse range of industries, including restaurants, fitness, automotive services, commercial landscaping and equipment dealerships. Unlike some peers that follow the traditional private equity fund model, Argonne typically capitalizes its deals independently in order to provide ultimate flexibility on the size, terms, deal structure and duration for each investment — features which have provided Argonne with a competitive advantage when acquiring closely-held or family-owned companies. 

Today, Argonne’s portfolio of companies generates $1.8 billion in annual sales and operates in iconic brands such as IHOP, Planet Fitness and John Deere. 

Argonne also recently promoted Bill Weimar to President, hired former Fir Tree Partners executive Ben Ghriskey as Managing Director and Head of Business Development, and hired former State Street Vice President Smruti Shah as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer. The firm also elevated long-time partner, Karl Jaeger, to Vice Chairman. 

“Bill has been a driving force behind Argonne for many years and elevating him to President recognizes and honors his significant contributions,” says Klump, Founder and Chairman of Argonne. “We have already seen significant growth as a direct result of Bill’s leadership, and we look forward to seeing where he takes Argonne over the next 20 years.”

“I’m fortunate to work with a nimble, growing team and to lead a firm that has the freedom and flexibility to pursue investments of all types without being beholden to a specific mandate or time horizon,” says Weimar, who joined Argonne in 2012. “Our goal has always been long-term value creation, and we look forward to continuing that tradition.”

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