Tropical Smoothie Cafe picked up by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners

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Levine Leichtman Capital Partners has bought Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a franchisor of fast casual cafes with more than 870 units across 44 US states.

The company says it aims to inspire a healthier lifestyle by serving better-for-you smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe will be the fifth investment from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners VI, which the firm closed last year on $2.5bn.

Fund VI surpassed both its $2.2bn target and the $1.65bn raised for the fund’s predecessor vehicle in 2013.

LLCP managing partner Matthew Frankel said, “We are excited to partner with [Company CEO Charles Watson] 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.”

LLCP was advised by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Debt financing was provided by Golub Capital.

In the summer LLCP revealed its succession plan, with co-founders Arthur Levine and Lauren Leichtman looking to the next generation of leaders 36 years after launching the firm.

The husband and wife team said they plan to remain actively involved in LLCP’s operations through their continued role as co-chairpersons of the executive committee and the investment committee.

Frankel and Michael Weinberg have been promoted to managing partners, responsible for LLCP’s global investment activities, including deal origination, sector strategy and portfolio management.

Andrew Schwartz, an LLCP Partner, will also have an active role in managing the activities of the investment team.

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