Investment firm to buy NexCen franchise business

by Eric Schroeder
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NEW YORK — Los Angeles-based investment firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (L.L.C.P.) has reached an agreement to acquire the franchise business of NexCen Brands, Inc. for $112.5 million. The assets to be acquired include NexCen’s interest in Great American Cookies, MaggieMoo’s, Marble Slab Creamery, Pretzelmaker, Pretzel Tim, TAF (The Athlete’s Foot) and Shoebox New York, as well as NexCen’s franchise management operations in Norcross, Ga., and its manufacturing facility in Atlanta.

“We are extremely pleased to be acquiring this leading franchise management business, which is a perfect fit with our portfolio and industry experience,” said Lauren Leichtman, chief executive officer of L.L.C.P. “We believe that this franchise business will be able to better capitalize on the many opportunities for continued expansion under our ownership and as a private company.”

The L.L.C.P.’s current portfolio includes Wetzel’s Pretzels, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, Simeus Foods, Intl. The company earlier held investments in Cici’s Pizza and Quizno’s Corp.

Kenneth J. Hall, c.e.o. of NexCen Brands, said the sale of the franchise business is “the most favorable option for all our stakeholders.”

“We are pleased that we have entered into an agreement that provides an opportunity to achieve value for all stakeholders,” Mr. Hall said. “We firmly believe that being a portfolio company of L.L.C.P. will provide our brands and franchisees with a new platform for growth and give our dedicated employees the opportunity to continue to manage and build these businesses.”

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