NEW YORK (The Deal) -- The Egg & I has been flipped to rival First Watch Restaurants, nearly doubling the acquirer's size and creating a major force to reckon with in the quick-rising breakfast restaurant category.
The Deal reported in March that Denver-based The Egg & I, owned by E&I Holdings, was working with John Goldasich of Birmingham, Ala.-based boutique investment bank Arlington Capital Advisors on a sale. Goldasich declined to comment on Thursday. Officials with The Egg & I could not be reached on Thursday.
The decision to sell the fast-growing concept was made sometime around the middle of last year, but the process stalled for a period of time after E&I Holdings CEO and Chairman Bill Baumhauer passed away at the age of 66, according to a source who asked to remain unnamed. The restaurant chain on Aug. 18, announced the passing of Baumhauer, who had led the company since October 2005.
The process likely fetched significant interest from both financial buyers and strategics in the breakfast space, according to industry sources.
Not only do breakfast concepts have higher margins than typical restaurant chains, but sources pointed to various factors, including the chain's novelty and increasing appeal over national chains such as Denny's (DENN). The fact that more restaurant chains are focused on lunch and dinner also means The Egg & I operates within unpopulated segment of the market.
The Egg & I, founded in 1987 in Fort Collins, Colo., includes 114 company-owned or franchised restaurants across 20 states, with a substantial presence in Colorado and Texas. Five locations across North Carolina, Virginia and Texas are expected to open soon, according to its website.