Blackstone to buy restaurant chain Tropical Smoothie

(Reuters) – Blackstone has agreed to buy Tropical Smoothie Cafe, the private equity firm said on Wednesday, in a deal that a source said valued the restaurant chain at $2 billion.

The Atlanta-based company began operating as a single location on a beach in Destin, Florida, and now operates over 1,400 locations in 44 states. It serves smoothies, wraps and sandwiches, among other foods.

Reuters had reported in December, citing sources, that Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, the private equity owner of Tropical Smoothie, was preparing to put the chain up for sale for around $2 billion.

Blackstone did not disclose terms of the deal, which marked its latest investment in a franchise business.

The company’s franchise deals include its 2007 deal for Hilton Hotels, as well as Servpro, a franchisor in the cleanup and emergency restoration industry.

Tropical Smoothie posted a positive increase in same-store sales in the first quarter of 2024, primarily helped by the launch of new menu items such as tropic bowls.

Barclays is the financial adviser for Blackstone. Baird is the lead financial adviser for Tropical Smoothie, with support from North Point and BofA Securities.

(Reporting by Granth Vanaik in Bengaluru and Abigail Summerville in New York; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Sriraj Kalluvila)