Z Capital Partners has acquired an equity stake of a non-strategic minority holder and increased its equity ownership of Real Mex Restaurants, a full service, casual dining Mexican restaurant chain. As a result of this transaction, Z Capital is now the largest shareholder of Real Mex.
Concurrent with this transaction, Real Mex has announced that James Zenni, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Z Capital, has been named Chairman of the Real Mex Board of Directors.
“We are thrilled to become the largest shareholder of Real Mex,” said Mr. Zenni. “Since Charly Robinson was appointed as CEO, Real Mex has improved operations and efficiencies and the management team is laser focused on the current turnaround strategy to drive profitability and enhance customer relationships. We remain dedicated to supporting Real Mex and are confident that, with Charly and his talented management team, the company is positioned for future growth and success.”
Real Mex Restaurants is the largest full-service, casual dining Mexican restaurant chain operator in the United States with 121 company-owned and operated restaurants, as well as 14 franchised restaurants. Brands include El Torito Restaurants, Acapulco Mexican Restaurants, Chevys Fresh Mex Restaurants, El Torito Grill Restaurants, Las Brisas Restaurant in Laguna Beach, Sinigual Restaurant in New York City, Who Song and Larry’s in Vancouver, WA, and El Paso Cantina in Torrance, CA. The company’s Real Mex Foods division is a manufacturer of foodservice and private label products in addition to co-packing for other manufacturers. Real Mex is headquartered in Cypress, CA (www.realmexrestaurants.com).
“This is an exciting transaction for all of us at Real Mex,” said Charly Robinson, President and CEO of Real Mex. “Z Capital has been a dedicated partner since their initial investment in the company and is deeply committed to the company’s vision to revitalize the Real Mex brands. With the support of a seasoned financial sponsor we are continuing to develop our brands and expand into new markets.”
Z Capital makes control investments in middle-market distressed companies, operational turnarounds and special situations. The firm targets companies with an enterprise value of less than $1 billion or EBITDA of less than $100 million. Sectors of interest include consumer products, steel, steel processors, agricultural, gaming, leisure, real estate, manufacturing, specialty services and automotive. Z Capital Partners was formed by Mr. Zenni, the former President, co-owner and co-founder of Black Diamond Capital Management. Mr. Zenni co-managed the portfolios of Black Diamond from its inception in 1995 to approximately $9 billion in assets under management and divested his fifty percent equity ownership interest in Black Diamond in October 2006. Z Capital is based in Lake Forest, IL (near Chicago) and has an additional office in New York (www.zcap.net).
© 2013 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 11-12-13