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FocalPoint Advises SnowFox on its Merger with YO! Sushi

Houston, TX – JFE Franchising, Inc., dba “SnowFox”, has merged with YO! Sushi to create one of the largest sushi companies outside of Japan. Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, SnowFox is the third largest sushi kiosk franchisor in the United States with over 700 full-service sushi bar kiosks across 30 states, primarily in supermarkets and club stores. The SnowFox kiosk model helps retail partners ride the rising tide of sushi’s popularity with kiosks in visible, high-traffic areas of their stores and by placing a high priority on food quality and customer engagement.

SnowFox’s merger with YO! Sushi was facilitated by Mayfair Equity Partners, who partnered with YO!’s management team as part of a management buyout in 2015. Following the merger, the expanded company, which has been renamed the SnowFox Group, will be made up of SnowFox, YO! Sushi, Bento Sushi, and Taiko Sushi. These four fast-growing businesses have over $425 million of system-wide sales, of which nearly two-thirds originate from North America.  FocalPoint Partners, LLC initiated this transaction and advised SnowFox on all aspects of the merger.  M3 Asset Management, Inc.’s David Kim, Managing Partner, served as an advisor on the transaction.

Jim Kim, Chairman of SnowFox, commented: “We are very proud of the business we have built over the last 14 years, commencing from humble beginnings in Houston to now operating across 30 states. We are very excited about our next chapter as we work together with YO! and Mayfair Equity Partners. We’re especially thankful to every team member and every chef whose tireless work, expertise, and commitment have helped us get to where we are today. I also want to emphasize that FocalPoint was invaluable in helping us achieve a very positive outcome for everyone involved.”

Stacy Kwon, President of SnowFox, stated: “The United States is one of the fastest growing sushi markets globally and we estimate that sushi has the potential to account for 1% of total US food retailer sales, approximately $10 billion. The FocalPoint team worked extremely hard in expertly advising us and in negotiating this successful outcome.”

Regarding the transaction, Robert Woolway, Managing Director and co-leader of FocalPoint’s Food and Restaurant practice, said, “We are pleased to announce the closing of this merger to create the SnowFox Group. We believe the combination of these leading sushi companies and the continued support of Mayfair Equity Partners will lead to a very successful future for our client. This represents another noteworthy and sizeable transaction for our Food and Restaurant Group.”

About SnowFox
Founded in 2005 and based in Houston, Texas, SnowFox is the franchisor of over 700 full-service sushi kiosks in 30 states throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii, and Alaska. The sushi kiosks are optimally placed in visible, high traffic areas inside supermarkets and club stores. SnowFox’s sushi kiosks feature a trained chef making sushi live in front of prospective customers, thereby enriching the fresh fare atmosphere. SnowFox’s mission is to lead and exemplify grab-n-go sushi by placing customers first, exchanging value with retail partners, and being dedicated to offering innovative menu selections that are affordable, served fresh, in an attractive setting. For more information on SnowFox, please visit www.jfefood.com.

About YO! Sushi
Founded in 1997, YO! was the first to bring the concept of a Japanese “kaiten” sushi bar that delivered food via a conveyor belt to the UK. Today, YO! has 89 restaurants worldwide: 71 owned and 18 franchised, serving over 7 million customers a year. YO! was acquired by Mayfair Equity Partners in November 2015. Since then YO! has acquired Bento Sushi in North America, and Taiko Sushi in the UK. For more information, please visit www.yosushi.com.

About Mayfair Equity Partners
Mayfair Equity Partners is a buyout and growth capital investor providing capital to dynamic businesses in the Consumer and TMT sectors. Its primary focus is on building strong partnerships with exceptional management teams. For more information, please visit www.mayfairequity.com.

About M3 Asset Management
M3 Asset Management is a registered investment advisor and offers investment advisory services globally. The firm specializes in active asset management strategies across a range of investment alternatives. The firm has offices in both Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea. For more information, please visit www.m3-asset.com.

About FocalPoint Partners, LLC
FocalPoint is an independent investment bank specializing in mergers and acquisitions, private placements, financial restructurings, and special situation transactions. With offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Shanghai, the firm serves middle-market clients throughout the U.S. and has a dedicated Food and Restaurant practice. For more information, please visit www.focalpointllc.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Please contact Robert Woolway, Managing Director, at 310-405-7080 or rwoolway@focalpointllc.com, with questions about this transaction.