Aramark Corp. and Spectrum Equity Investors, a private equity firm that invests in innovative digital media and e-commerce businesses, announced that they have completed a transaction in which Spectrum has acquired from Aramark a minority stake in SeamlessWeb, the nation's leading online and mobile food ordering service, for $50 million. Following the transaction, SeamlessWeb’s operations will be separated from those of Aramark.
“This transaction enables SeamlessWeb to pursue accelerated expansion, product innovation and opportunistic acquisitions,” said Jonathan Zabusky, chief executive officer of SeamlessWeb in a prepared statement. “SeamlessWeb is a leader in online and mobile food ordering. Now as an independent organization with the benefit of additional strategic insight at the board level from the highly accomplished team at Spectrum, we look forward to taking our brand and offering to the next level by developing the most robust and integrated local, social, mobile food ordering and e-commerce platform.”
“We are very pleased to partner with Spectrum in the further growth and development of SeamlessWeb. While SeamlessWeb has performed extremely well as a wholly-owned part of Aramark, we feel that the addition of Spectrum as a significant investor and the establishment of a separate governance structure will position the company to fully capitalize on the significant opportunities that lie ahead, particularly in the direct-to-consumer segment,” said Joseph Neubauer, Aramark’s chairman and CEO.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to invest in the clear leader in online and mobile food ordering,” said Ben Spero, managing director of Spectrum Equity. “SeamlessWeb has created a differentiated consumer experience and brand in a category which has tremendous growth potential. We look forward to partnering with Jonathan, the management team and ARAMARK in supporting the Company’s continued innovation and vision.”
SeamlessWeb’s robust digital marketplace promotes, markets and connects local restaurants with business and consumer customers across multiple platforms. The company’s leading restaurant network includes over 7,000 restaurants in 27 cities globally, including New York, London, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and over one million individuals have ordered through the platform to-date.
As the pioneer in online food ordering and the largest business in the category, SeamlessWeb has continued to rapidly expand. The company’s managed volume growth has increased significantly year-over-year – particularly with consumers – and is projected to exceed $400 million in 2011, including recent growth of over 250 percent in the Boston metro area and 150 percent in Washington D.C. In the 10 months since the company launched its first mobile application, mobile orders have also grown dramatically to now account for over 14 percent of weekend consumer demand.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Spectrum in connection with the transaction. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan served as financial advisors and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal advisor to Aramark in connection with the transaction.