Dallas private equity firm munches up majority stake in Wetzel’s Pretzels

Todd Short

Wetzel’s Pretzels is based in Pasadena, California.

via Korri Kezar, Dallas Business Journal

Dallas private equity firm CenterOak Partners has munched up California snack chain Wetzel’s Pretzels.

Nation’s Restaurant News, which first reported the news on Friday, said CenterOak acquired a majority stake in the Pasadena-based company from previous owners Levine Leichtman Capital. Levine owned Wetzel’s for nine years.

Though terms of the deal were not disclosed, Wetzel’s co-founder and CEO Bill Phelps told NRN that Levine received a return of seven times their investment.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Phelps told the publication. “We hope this next group will see the same kind of return.”

With the deal, Phelps will remain CEO and the company’s individual investor. There will be no management changes.

Wetzel’s has roughly 310 units across the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Puerto Rico, including two at Hillside Village in Cedar Hill and at The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano. Most of its locations are franchised and boast average unit volumes of roughly $580,000.

The company has posted 6.5 percent same-store sales year-to-date, and is projecting system-wide sales of $165 million for fiscal year 2016, NRN reported.

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