Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Acquires Wetzel’s Pretzels

Press Release | Source: Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, Inc.

Beverly Hills, CA (January 18, 2007) - Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (“LLCP”), a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, announced today that LLCP had partnered with management to complete the acquisition of Wetzel’s Pretzels, LLC, one of the leading franchisors in the freshly baked soft pretzel and pretzel based snack category. Wetzel’s is one of the largest soft pretzel retailers in the country with approximately 190 locations across 27 states and 5 countries.

The acquisition of Wetzel’s Pretzels is LLCP’s third in the franchise sector. LLCP’s other franchise concept investments include the Quizno's Corporation and CiCi's Pizza, Inc.

According to Lauren Leichtman, Co-Founder and CEO of Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, “Wetzel’s is an exceptionally well-managed company, led by its Chief Executive Officer Bill Phelps and President Rick Wetzel, and is an excellent addition to our portfolio. It is a highly recognizable brand with superior quality, freshly made, differentiated product that people love. We are very excited to support Bill, Rick and the rest of the management team in the continued growth of the company.”

Alongside LLCP, the senior management of Wetzel’s Pretzels made a significant investment in the company. Bill Phelps and Rick Wetzel will continue to lead the company and are pleased that LLCP has added Wetzel’s to its portfolio. Bill Phelps commented, “Given Levine Leichtman Capital Partner’s proven track record in the franchise industry, we are very excited to have them as our partner as we continue to rapidly expand the Wetzel’s network. There is a tremendous opportunity for the company today, and we now have the team and financial wherewithal to capitalize on it.”

BB&T Capital Markets served as financial adviser to Wetzel's Pretzels on the transaction.

About Wetzel’s Pretzels, LLC
Founded in 1994, Wetzel’s Pretzels is one of the leading franchisors in the soft pretzel / specialty food category. Wetzel’s products are widely viewed as the highest quality product in the soft pretzel category and offer a strong value proposition for customers. Based in Pasadena, CA, the company has approximately 190 company-owned and franchised locations across 27 states and 5 countries. For further information and directions to the store nearest you, please visit www.wetzels.com.

About Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, Inc.
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners is a Los Angeles, California private equity firm that was founded in 1984 by Arthur E. Levine and Lauren B. Leichtman. The firm manages in excess of $1.5 billion of institutional investment capital through private equity partnerships. LLCP has a highly differentiated, multi-fund investment strategy focused on companies with revenues between $50 million and $500 million. LLCP is currently making new investments through Levine Leichtman Capital Partners III, L.P. and Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Deep Value Fund, L.P. Successful investments by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners include Jon Douglas Real Estate Services Group, Inc., Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc., the Quizno's Corporation and CiCi's Pizza, Inc. For more information about Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, please visit www.llcp.com.

About BB&T Capital Markets
BB&T Capital Markets offers an integrated platform of M&A advisory, public and private debt and equity services, and corporate banking to corporations, governments, and nonprofit organizations. BB&T Capital Markets is a division of Scott & Stringfellow, Inc., member NYSE/SIPC. Scott & Stringfellow is a separate, non-bank affiliate of BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT), the nation’s eleventh-largest financial holding company with $118.5 billion in assets.