The Washington, DC-based firm announced Wednesday that it will partner with former Domino's president and CEO Patrick Doyle to acquire established brands worth up to $10 billion and in need of a tech makeover. Doyle will focus on the consumer and retail sectors in North America and Europe, working as an executive partner alongside Jay Sammons, who serves as Carlyle's head of global consumer, media and retail. Doyle is expected to co-invest in each deal.
"Patrick Doyle has a proven track record in driving revenue growth, brand recognition and shareholder returns through technological transformation," Carlyle co-CEO Kewsong Lee said in a statement. "We see untapped opportunity to work with established, proven businesses who want to do the same."
It would likely be hard to find anybody for this role who has a better track record than Doyle. He joined Domino's in 1997, serving as the company's president and later as its CEO from 2010 to 2018. During his tenure as CEO, the pizza chain's stock soared from below $12 a share to around $250 apiece. The company's market cap now sits at some $10 billion.
Doyle spearheaded a number of initiatives for Domino's, which included changing the pizza recipe, producing an ad campaign that admitted the company's old recipe needed improvement, implementing a self-developed point-of-sale system and focusing heavily on online ordering, per Restaurant Business Online. The company also remodeled its franchises to make in-store pickups more enjoyable for customers and reportedly opened some 650 new locations over the last decade.
During Doyle's tenure, Domino's also returned a staggering $3.4 billion to shareholders, the share price increased 2,100% and its market share doubled, making it the top-selling pizza company in the world.
Doyle officially retired in June 2018, with rumors circulating that he might join Chipotle. He instead took time off to hike in Montana and think about what was a logical next step, he told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
Doyle said the new partnership won't be looking to invest in distressed businesses, a strategy often used in typical leveraged buyouts.
"We're really looking for good businesses that have got strong cash flow where there's just this opportunity to transform how they operate, how they go to market, to bring the technology into that," he told CNBC.
He also indicated that future deals could include public or private companies in the retail, restaurant, hospitality or healthcare industries.
Doyle's hiring marked the latest in a string of announcements from Carlyle this week. On Tuesday, the firm agreed to purchase a majority stake in HireVue, which offers a digital video platform designed to help companies in the hiring process. Capital for the investment will come via Carlyle's seventh flagship fund, which closed on $18.5 billion last year. And in separate deals, the firm acquired a 100% stake in Attraciones Coney Island, which operates more than 130 indoor entertainment parks in Latin America, and made a growth investment in ETC Group, a French provider of telecom equipment.
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