Cincinnati's Skyline Chili Finalizes Purchase Agreement with Local Business Leader

The locally-based restaurant chain now has three main owners: The Williams Family, Kevin R. McDonnell (President and CEO of Skyline Chili) and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation

click to enlarge Kevin R. McDonnell (L) and Thomas L. Williams - Photos: Provided
Photos: Provided
Kevin R. McDonnell (L) and Thomas L. Williams

A Queen City staple over 70 years in the making recently completed a purchase agreement to secure their mission to "remain privately held by local ownership with deep Cincinnati roots, while simultaneously positioning itself for continued success and growth," a release reads.

Skyline Chili announced on Monday, Jan. 4 that the restaurant chain finalized a purchase agreement with local business leader and President/CEO of North American Properties Thomas L. Williams. The partnership means that the business will now operate under the sole ownership of The Williams Family (plus partners and associates), Kevin R. McDonnell (President and CEO of Skyline Chili) and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. (According to the Cincinnati Business Courier, other Skyline management was bought out.)

McDonnell will maintain his current role as the chain's President and CEO.

“It is very important to me that Skyline carry on just like it always has. Many restaurant brands have been acquired by private equity investors, who often have very short-term investment strategies and no personal connection to the brand they are acquiring," said McDonnell.

"In our case, it was critical to find a buyer who has demonstrated a commitment to the local community as well as a long-term investment horizon. Tom really understands and loves Skyline and our importance to the community.”

The Cincinnati-based chain currently has 136 locations spread across Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Florida, with one opening in Xenia, Ohio this month. 

The release introduces Williams and identifies his many ties within the Greater Cincinnati community, including his lifelong local residency, real estate development business and position as Vice Chairman and a principal owner of the Cincinnati Reds, in addition to his role serving on several local boards like Cincinnati Center City Development Company (3CDC), Western & Southern Financial group, etc. 

“I have long enjoyed and admired Skyline Chili and what it represents,” Williams said in the same press release.

“I am truly appreciative of this opportunity and I look forward to working with Kevin and his team to continue growing this wonderful brand and providing stewardship for one of our community’s most valued assets. Our family is extremely proud to make this acquisition as it keeps in line with our thesis of investing in strong local brands that also have a civic responsibility. In this transaction, we have included some of our current local partners that share these values.”

For more information, see the full release here — which assures us that customers can continue to "look forward to enjoying Skyline Chili’s unique and delicious Coneys, 3-Ways and genuine hospitality."

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