Unbridled Sells 62 Sonics in FL, AL


"Unbridled Capital recently provided sell-side advisory to MVP Sonic Group on the sale of 62 Sonic Drive-In restaurants in FL and AL. The restaurants were sold to Quality Restaurant Group (QRG), led by Matt Ailey and Matt Slaine. This acquisition will bring Sonic into QRG’s existing brand portfolio, including Arby’s, Pizza Hut, and Moe’s Southwest Grill. After this transaction, the McClain organization will continue to own and operate Sonics in its MS markets.

Buddy McClain began his career with Sonic Drive-In as a manager-in-training, and by 1978—at the age of 22—he became the owner-operator of one Sonic in Selma, Alabama. In three years, he owned four stores in the Baton Rouge area before McClain and his childhood friend, Bruce Vaughn, bought development rights for the Jackson, MS market. Within 10 years, McClain and Vaughn owned 12 locations and from there, the two went on to buy territory rights to Hattiesburg, MS, and along the Gulf Coast. By 2005, the partnership owned the rights to Tampa and West Palm Beach as well. As a testament to the McClain’s tremendous success and longevity, Buddy was presented the Troy Smith Hall of Fame Award in 2014, the most prestigious award given to a Sonic franchisee.

“While comparing advisors for our project, the Unbridled Capital team stood out as the clear partner of choice. We needed an advisor willing to work quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Without question, Rick Ormsby and his team delivered on each of these asks. Early in the process, they exhibited a willingness to do whatever it took to launch on our timeline, even working on holidays, into late-night hours, and across many weekends. They were able to successfully guide our group through COVID-headwinds. Throughout the entire process, their team demonstrated tremendous grit, clear control over the transaction, and a take-the-hill mentality, all of which led to a terrific outcome. Without hesitation, we would recommend Unbridled Capital to any peer looking to sell or finance their business,” said Buddy McClain.

“The MVP Group sets the absolute gold standard on operations, reporting, and people development. Not only that, I consider Buddy McClain an excellent person, a great businessman, and a friend. Our relationship goes as far back as well over 15 years when Buddy and I first explored a transaction together. I am particularly proud of the historic outcome here – this is possibly the largest Sonic business to have ever sold to a new franchise group. We could not be happier for the entire MVP team as they slow down a bit and will continue to operate their MS locations with excellence. We also congratulate Matt Ailey and the entire QRG team on another successful transaction with Unbridled. We know the future is bright for QRG in Sonic and are incredibly thankful to have been part of this unique Sonic transaction,” said Rick Ormsby, Managing Director.

As a condition of this closing, Unbridled Capital will make a charitable contribution to the Sonic Disaster Relief Fund which helps team members recover from disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires.

Unbridled Capital provides the franchise community with unrivaled investment banking services.  For more information, please contact Rick Ormsby at 502-252-6422 or [email protected].