Retired NBA player Theo Ratliff attends “The Made Man Awards 2017” at 595 North on January 26, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Minority private equity firm Corlex Capital has teamed up with former National Basketball Association center Theo Ratliff to seek out sports investors interested in restaurant franchising.
In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Ratliff said it takes $ 100,000 to enter the fund, adding that Corlex already operates 10 Wingstop franchises and is ready to announce more closures.
“A lot of people want to be in the franchise industry but don’t have the know-how or the ability to run a franchise, and that’s what Corlex brings to the table,” Ratliff said. “It’s like investing in stocks. Let it grow, and when you decide to sell, you sell it or hold it and take away the residue of the growth. But I think it’s a great opportunity.”
Corlex specializes in finding the best quick-service restaurants that require additional management and provides liquidity options for owners, founders. Jason Bedasse noted. In addition to quick service outlets, Corlex says it’s also looking for gym and hair salon franchises.
“The clients we generally serve are those who have experienced rapid growth and who are struggling with their growth profile,” said Bedasse. “He’s a different type of person who runs five stores… versus 50 stores. They all have different needs. It is very common that when franchisees cross another threshold, they sometimes struggle with the resources to serve their franchisees at a particular level. “
Corlex charges royalties, a percentage of sales, to help run the stores, “but in most cases we’ll buy the franchise from the franchisee if they’re willing to sell,” Bedasse said.
The firm worked with Ratliff to launch its “playmakersand use Ratliff’s NBA connections to help solicit athletes for the fund and build brand awareness. The former player uses his own franchise experience to help attract investors.
A drive-in Sonic restaurant is shown in Normal, Ill.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Ratliff, 47, played 16 seasons in the NBA and earned around $ 100 million during his career, according to Basket-Reference. He spent time with the Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks.
While with the Hawks in 2002, he declined an offer to invest in Sonic franchises, which he still regrets.
“I knew I didn’t have the time or the capacity to be able to make the system work, so I ended up giving them up,” Ratliff said. “It was a good deal, but I had no idea how to operate a Sonic.”
Established in 2018, Ratliff invested in Corlex and said he wanted to use the new division to attract investors and educate young players on how to operate franchises.
Former NBA Junior Bridgeman is one of the most notable names in the field of ex-athlete franchise. He bought numerous Chili’s and Wendy’s franchises before selling the units for $ 400 million in 2016. Bridgeman now operates a bottling distribution company with Coca-Cola as customer and new owner of Black media company, Ebony.
Bedasse said the company is looking to raise $ 5 million each from the franchise funds and that after five years investors can refinance the terms or sell stakes. A former principal seller of Canadian-based Dundee Corporation, Bedasse added that 20 more “established brand” franchises would be announced soon. He did not provide the brand name due to privacy concerns.
“We were hoping to launch in time for Black History Month, but we may be missing a week,” Bedasse said.
Ratliff said he was bullish on the fast food industry, even after Covid. But investments in his portfolio also include technology stocks he calls “dividend-movers” (Apple, Microsoft), and he still has his first investment, which he made in Coca-Cola.
“Quick service restaurants are booming in this market,” Ratliff said. “We’re happy with what franchises are doing through Covid, and we think it’s sustainable. Wings and pizzas – things like that – people eat them every week.
“One thing I see is more (players) going into business,” added Ratliff. “We have a safe and efficient way to be involved.”