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by Fred Minnick
Raving Brands has sold Moe's Southwest Grill to Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands, according to Raving Brands officials.
In a conference call with Moe's franchisees, Raving Brands president Steve LeMastra told operators the company signed a definitive agreement with FOCUS over the weekend. Specific purchase terms were not discussed.
"This transaction is expected to close over the next several months," LeMastra says. "It is subject to typical closing conditions. When the deal closes this summer, FOCUS brands will own Moe’s Southwest Grill."
LeMastra says FOCUS intends to integrate Moe's into its portfolio throughout the remainder of 2007. He told Moe's owners that Raving Brands has had discussions with FOCUS for more than a year. Franchisees have long believed their franchisor was shopping Moe's to potential buyers. A potential sale was mentioned in a lawsuit filed March 30. Plaintiff lawyer Bob Casey said he wanted to protect his client's rights in case a sale occurred.
"There's never been a better time to take Moe's to another level," LeMastra says. "Nothing demonstrates our commitment more than this transaction."
LeMastra says Moe's management team will stay intact.
FOCUS bought Schlotzsky's last year and also operates Carvel and Cinnabon. Its parent company is Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm.
Fred Minnick is a professional writer based in Louisville, Kentucky. Contact him at editor@FredWrite.com