Micah Smith

Dallas private equity firm CenterOak Partners LLC has acquired a majority stake in Wetzel’s Pretzels LLC soft-pretzel stores.

Wetzel’s Pretzels, based in Pasadena, California, is the self-described second-largest owner and franchisor of soft pretzel stores, which also serve Wetzel Dogs, Wetzel Bitz pretzel bites, lemonade, granita and other beverages. The Wetzel chain has more than 300 company-owned and franchise stores in 28 states and six countries.

CenterOak makes control investments in middle-market companies in the U.S., specializing in industrial growth, consumer and business services sectors. CenterOak made its investment in Wetzel’s from its $420 million CenterOak Equity Fund I, which it recently closed to new investors. CenterOak also recently acquired Cascade Windows Inc., maker of windows and doors for residential and commercial buildings, from Altamont Capital Partners.

Middle-market M&A buyers have recently been drawn to restaurant chains with grown potential. Private equity firm Z Capital Partners LLC agreed to acquire the Pink Taco restaurant brand. Also, General Atlantic announced a minority growth investment in fast casual chain operator Barteca Holdings, joining Rosser Capital Partners. And middle-market PE firm Stone-Goff Partners announced it was buying the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille restaurant chain.

Terms of the Wetzel’s transaction were not disclosed, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP was CenterOak’s legal adviser, with Golub Capital financing the deal. North Point Advisors was financial adviser to Wetzel’s Pretzels.

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