Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL) announced today that it has signed an agreement under which it will acquire Fogo de Chão Churrascaria (“Fogo”), a group of Brazilian themed fine dining, full-service restaurants, from GP Investments. “With three new restaurants opened in the past 12 months, Fogo has charted a compelling growth path. We couldn’t be more pleased to be partnering with an investor like THL. Their expertise in working with management teams to support and deliver profitable growth in consumer-driven businesses is a great match for Fogo, our passion for the guest experience and where we are heading in the future,” said Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Fogo.
Fogo de Chao is an authentic Southern Brazilian steakhouse or churrascaria. Founded in 1979 in Southern Brazil, Fogo expanded into the US in 1997. The company’s U.S. restaurants are in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Scottsdale, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Orlando. Brazilian restaurants are in Vila Olímpia, Moema and Santo Amaro in São Paulo; Salvador, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro. The company is headquartered in Dallas, TX (www.fogo.com).
“We have tremendous respect for Fogo’s innovative dining experience and unparalleled commitment to customer service and quality. This tradition of excellence has been built and nurtured at Fogo over the past three decades and has continued in recent years under the leadership of the Fogo management team. We look forward to working with the team to continue to grow the business for the benefit of all Fogo stakeholders,” said Jeff Swenson, Managing Director of THL.
Thomas H. Lee, founded in 1974, is one of the oldest private equity investment firms in the United States. Industries of interest include Business and Information Services; Consumer Products/Retail; Financial Services; Health Care; Industrial; and Media/Communications. Since its founding, THL has raised approximately $20 billion of equity capital and invested in more than 100 businesses with an aggregate purchase price of more than $150 billion. The firm is based in Boston, MA (www.thl.com).
GP Investments, is a leading alternative asset investment firm in Latin America, has been actively investing in the region since 1993. GP Investments has raised over $5 billion with a track record of 49 completed deals across 15 different sectors. In May 2006, GP Investments concluded its IPO, becoming the first listed alternative asset investment firm in Latin America. The firm is based in São Paulo, Brazil (www.gp-investments.com).
J.P. Morgan and Jefferies Finance are providing committed financing for the transaction. Jefferies & Company acted as financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges acted as legal advisor to THL.