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- Subway’s last surviving founder, Peter Buck, died in 2021.
- In 1965, Buck invested $1,000 to help Fred DeLuca start Subway, which grew into a fast-food empire.
- On Tuesday, Buck’s private foundation said it was receiving Buck’s 50% stake in Subway.
Half of Subway, reportedly for sale, will soon be owned by a charity thanks to a gift from the chain’s late cofounder Peter Buck.
Buck, who died last year, left his 50% stake in the chain to the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, according to a Tuesday announcement by the charity. Buck, a nuclear physicist turned entrepreneur, founded the organization in 1999.
“This gift will allow the foundation to greatly expand its philanthropic endeavors and impact many more lives, especially our work to create educational opportunities for all students, work Dr. Buck cared so deeply about,” Carrie Schindele, executive director of the foundation, said in a statement.
According to Forbes, Buck’s two sons, Christopher and William Buck, and Ben Benoit, the foundation’s chief financial officer, are the executors of Buck’s estate. The publication obtained a copy of Buck’s will. Forbes said that the two sons also serve on the foundation’s board of directors.
Peter Buck was 34 when he partnered with a 17-year-old family friend, Fred DeLuca, to open a submarine sandwich shop. Buck backed the startup with an initial investment of $1,000.
Subway would eventually become one of the biggest fast-food franchise companies in the world. Today, it has more than 37,000 restaurants. Over the last few years, Subway has struggled to stay relevant. It’s closed dozens of stores over the years and restructured franchisee operations. In 2020, the chain laid off hundreds of corporate staff to cut costs amid rumors of a company sale.
According to the foundation, “the Buck and DeLuca families continue to remain close.” Subway told Insider that members from both the Buck and DeLuca families sit on the Subway board of directors.
News that the foundation has acquired half of Subway comes just weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported that the chain is exploring a sale. It’s unclear how the charity will impact Subway operations and any future sale.
Subway declined to talk about the sale rumors.
“As a privately held company, we don’t comment on ownership structure and business plans. We continue to be focused on moving the brand forward with our transformational journey to help our franchisees be successful and profitable,” the company told Insider.
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