November 15, 2012

Halifax-Backed PJ United Acquires 26 Pizza Restaurants

Largest Papa John’s Franchisee Continues Growth Strategy

WASHINGTON, DC and BIRMINGHAM, AL — November 15, 2012 — PJ United, the nation’s largest franchisee of Papa John’s Pizza stores, announced today it has acquired 26 Papa John’s Pizza stores from Gaunce Management, Inc. (“Gaunce”). Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. PJ United is a portfolio company of The Halifax Group, a private equity firm specializing in partnering with owners and managers of middle-market businesses.

Gaunce operated 26 stores, located in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri and Illinois. With this acquisition, PJ United increases its ownership of Papa John’s stores from 132 to 158 stores. PJ United now owns Papa John’s restaurants in 10 states: Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, and Utah. In November 2007, Halifax partnered with PJ United and its founder and CEO, Doug Stephens, in a management-led buyout of the company.

“PJ United is pursuing a strategy of measured growth, and the addition of these stores will allow us to continue to expand in our current footprint while adding service territory throughout the Southeast and Midwest,” commented Mr. Stephens.

Ken Doyle, Managing Director at Halifax, added, “We continue to see strong growth opportunities and demand for better quality pizza, and Halifax is proud to be partnered with a such a strong brand and management team.”


About PJ United

Founded in 1991, PJ United is the country’s largest franchisee of Papa John’s International, a leading national brand for carry-out and delivery pizza. Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, PJ United operates 158 stores in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Ohio, Utah, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi and Virginia. For more information, visit


About The Halifax Group
The Halifax Group is a private equity firm that partners with managers and entrepreneurs to recapitalize and grow lower middle-market businesses across a variety of industries including health and wellness, infrastructure, business and government services and franchising. The firm maintains offices in Washington, D.C.; Dallas, TX; and Raleigh, NC. For more information, please visit