Aramark Acquisition Complete

The recent completion of a leveraged buyout of Aramark hinged on offering a deal attractive enough to win over the hearts and, more importantly, the pocketbooks of shareholders.

Even though last August’s initial offering of $32 per share was bumped up to a more enticing $33.80, the investor who came out on top was CEO Joseph Neubauer, whose family holdings are valued at nearly $1 billion.

The CEO led a private equity group that includes GS Capital Partners; CCMP Capital Advisors and JP Morgan Partners; Thomas H. Lee Partners; and Warburg Pincus.

Of actual votes cast, a 97 percent majority of Aramark Corp. holders voted to adopt the $8.3 billion merger agreement proposed by the investment group December 20th. The group has also assumed $2 billion in debt under the proposal.

"This merger opens a new and exciting chapter in Aramark’s history," Neubauer said in a statement. "The new structure will enable us to fully unleash the company’s potential. Today, we are positioned to drive greater innovation, pursue strategic opportunities, and build sophisticated, long-term solutions that deliver the most value for our clients and customers around the world."

The Aramark buyout faced far less scrutiny than other recent acquisitions, despite Neubauer’s $1 billion stake. A recent Clear Channel Communications buyout, for example, has stalled amid stockholder uncertainty. CCC investors have apparently wondered if they are getting shorted in a deal that would net the CCC’s founding Mays family more than $1 billion.

This is the second time Aramark has gone private. The food-services company was acquired by a private equity group in 1984 and went public again in 2001. During the 2001-2006 fiscal years, sales grew from $7.4 billion to $11.6 billion.