LLCP Buys Tropical Smoothie from BIP

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP) has acquired Tropical Smoothie Café from BIP Capital in partnership with the company’s management team.

Tropical Smoothie Café (TSC) is a franchisor of fast-casual cafes that serve smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads through dine-in, take-out and catering options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

TSC’s first store was opened in 1997 in Destin, Florida by Eric and Delora Jenrich, and David Walker, and the company’s first franchised location opened in 1998 in Tallahassee. In August 2012, TSC had 315 locations and was acquired by Buckhead Investment Partners (now BIP Capital) through its BIP Opportunities Fund.

Today, Atlanta-headquartered TSC is led by CEO Charles Watson and has more than 870 stores across 44 states.

“My team and I are very excited to partner with LLCP as Tropical Smoothie Cafe seeks to enhance its market-leading position,” said Mr. Watson. “Having the opportunity to leverage LLCP’s extensive franchise expertise will be pivotal in driving further growth and supporting our franchisees.”

The buy of TSC is the fifth investment from LLCP’s sixth fund which closed in December 2018 with $2.5 billion of capital commitments.

“We are excited to partner with Charles and the rest of the management team who have led the tremendous growth of Tropical Smoothie Cafe,” said Matthew Frankel, a managing partner of LLCP. “We look forward to working with them as they continue to increase system-wide sales, improve franchisee unit economics and expand unit count in the significant remaining whitespace.”

LLCP invests in middle-market companies located in the United States and Europe. Sectors of interest include consumer and branded products, franchises, business services, healthcare, education, engineered products and light manufacturing.

In July 2020, LLCP announced a management succession plan that named Matthew Frankel and Michael Weinberg as managing partners. LLCP was founded in 1984 and its co-founders – Arthur Levine and Lauren Leichtman – remain with the firm as co-chairpersons of its executive and investment committees.

LLCP has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Charlotte, Miami, London, Stockholm, and The Hague.

Robert W. Baird & Co. was the financial advisor to TSC. Kirkland & Ellis provided legal services to LLCP on this transaction and debt financing was provided by Golub Capital.

Private Equity Professional | September 11, 2020

Print Friendly, PDF & Email