Los Angeles, CA (RestaurantNews.com) Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (“LLCP”), a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, has partnered with management to acquire Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC (“Tropical Smoothie Cafe” or the “Company”). Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a leading franchisor of fast casual cafes with over 870 units across 44 states. The Company inspires a healthier lifestyle by serving better-for-you smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads across multiple dayparts. Tropical Smoothie Cafe was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Atlanta, GA.
The Company will continue to be run by the existing executive team led by CEO Charles Watson. According to Matthew Frankel, Managing Partner of LLCP, “We are excited to partner with Charles and the rest of the management team who have led the tremendous growth of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. 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.”
Mr. Watson commented, “My team and I are very excited to partner with LLCP as Tropical Smoothie Cafe seeks to enhance its market-leading position. Having the opportunity to leverage LLCP’s extensive franchise expertise will be pivotal in driving further growth and supporting franchisees in inspiring better in our guests.”
Tropical Smoothie Cafe will be the fifth investment from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners VI, L.P.
LLCP was advised by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Debt financing was provided by Golub Capital.
Management was advised by Jamieson and Peter Klein, P.A. Tropical Smoothie Cafe was advised by Robert W. Baird & Co. and Alston & Bird LLP.
About Levine Leichtman Capital Partners
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, LLC is a middle-market private equity firm with a 37-year track record of successfully investing across various targeted sectors, including franchising, professional services, education and engineered products. LLCP utilizes a differentiated Structured Private Equity investment strategy, combining debt and equity capital investments in portfolio companies. This unique structure provides a less dilutive solution for management teams and entrepreneurs, while delivering growth and income with a significantly lower risk profile.
LLCP’s global team of dedicated investment professionals is led by seven partners who have worked together for an average of 21 years. Since inception, LLCP has managed approximately $11 billion of institutional capital across 14 investment funds and has invested in over 85 portfolio companies. LLCP currently manages approximately $7 billion of assets – including its most recent flagship fund, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners VI, L.P., which closed in 2018 with $2.5 billion of committed capital – and has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Charlotte, Miami, London, Stockholm and The Hague.