Millstone Capital Advisors has agreed to acquire Red Lion Beef Co., which owns the St. Louis, Mo.-based restaurant chain Lion’s Choice, for an undisclosed price.
To facilitate the deal, the private equity firm — also based in St. Louis — partnered with Mark Disper through his investment fund Black Rock Holdings LLC. Disper will retain partial ownership of the target’s new name LC Corporate LLC. He will also serve as president and CEO of Lion's Choice, which is known primarily for 300-calorie roast beef sandwiches and comparatively healthy offerings. (For more on the better-for-you eating trend leading to M&A, see our September cover story “Snack Time.”)
Meanwhile, Millstone Capital’ Bob Millstone and Fred Flegel will join the company’s new board of managers. The buy-side team expects to expand the franchise locations throughout the Midwest.
Marvin Gibbs, the founder of Lion’s Choice, will serve as an adviser to the company once the transaction is completed. Gibbs founded the company in 1967 and went on to open 23 quick-serve locations.
Disper, a former business consultant at Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD), became the first franchisee of Lion’s Choice in 2000 when he opened a store in Chicago, which has since closed.