Brentwood Buys Chicken Salad Chick
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Brentwood Buys Chicken Salad Chick

Brentwood Associates has acquired a majority interest in Chicken Salad Chick from Eagle Merchant Partners.

Auburn, Georgia-based Chicken Salad Chick is a fast-casual restaurant franchisor that sells 15 different flavors of chicken salad, as well as delicatessen-style sandwiches, side dishes, salads and desserts. The company has 137 locations – approximately 20% are company-owned – in 16 states predominantly in the Southeastern US and provides dine-in, take-out, drive-thru and catering options.

Chicken Salad Chick was founded in 2008 by Stacy and Kevin Brown and began franchising in 2012. Eagle Merchant Partners acquired the company in 2015 when it had 32 locations in six southeastern states.

“We are extremely proud of Chicken Salad Chick’s achievements during our ownership, which resulted in a seven-fold increase in system sales and over 100 new restaurants,” said Stockton Croft, a partner at Eagle Merchant. “Chicken Salad Chick is a truly differentiated company with tremendous growth ahead.  It has been an honor to work with such a wonderful organization.”

Chicken Salad Chick is led by CEO Scott Deviney, who will continue to lead the business in partnership with Brentwood. “We are very excited to partner with Brentwood on the next chapter for Chicken Salad Chick,” said Mr. Deviney. “Brentwood’s long track record of working with leading restaurant companies coupled with their understanding of our business objectives and strategy make them the perfect partner for us to continue executing on our robust growth and expansion plan.”

Los Angeles-based Brentwood invests from $20 million to $200 million of equity in consumer products and services companies that have revenues of $20 million to $500 million and EBITDA of up to $50 million. Since 1984, Brentwood’s private equity team has invested in more than 50 portfolio companies with an aggregate transaction value of over $6 billion. Brentwood is led by its partners Bill Barnum, Roger Goddu, Steve Moore, Eric Reiter and Rahul Aggarwal.

The restaurant sector is not new for Brentwood. The firm has made seven prior restaurant investments including Lazy Dog Restaurants, Pacific Catch, Veggie Grill, Blaze Pizza, Zoe’s Kitchen, K-Mac (a franchisee of Taco Bell, KFC and Golden Corral), and Pacific Island Restaurants (a franchisee of Taco Bell and Pizza Hut).

“Chicken Salad Chick’s model fits well within our strategy of investing in high-growth, best-in-class consumer businesses,” said Mr. Aggarwal. “We look forward to working with Scott and the Chicken Salad Chick team to build upon their success in the markets they serve.”

Brentwood closed its current fund, Brentwood Associates Private Equity VI LP (and parallel funds) with total capital commitments of $1.15 billion in July 2017.

Atlanta-based Eagle Merchant Partners, the seller of Chicken Salad Chick, invests from $10 million to $75 million of equity in middle-market companies that are active in the consumer, business services, manufacturing and industrial services sectors. The firm was founded in September 2013 by ex-Arcapita professionals Stockton Croft, Ransom James, Bill Lundstrom, and Andrew Hirsekorn.

San Francisco-based North Point Advisors was the financial advisor to Chicken Salad Chick on this transaction.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | December 6, 2019

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