Levine Leichtman Capital Partners announced Thursday that it sold its interest in Mountain Mike's Pizza to co-CEOs Chris Britt and Ed St. Geme.
In 2017, the Los Angeles-based private equity firm partnered with Britt Private Capital (Britt) and Jupiter Holdings (St. Geme) to acquire the pizza concept, back when it had more than 180 units. In the years since, Mountain Mike's has expanded to 250 restaurants in California, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and Nevada. The chain was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Newport Beach, California.
“The investment in [Mountain Mike's] has been extremely successful for [Levine Leichtman Capital Partners] and the Company’s management team," Matthew Frankel, managing partner of Levine Leichtman, said in a statement. "Since our initial investment in 2017, [Mountain Mike's has substantially increased its store count and expanded into several new states. Additionally, we have accelerated value creation through initiatives such as acquiring territory rights, creating a franchise development team, and successfully launching the [Mountain Mike's mobile app. We are excited to see [Mountain Mike's continue to execute its growth plan and wish the Company continued success in the future.”
The move comes after Mountain Mike's experienced its best year on record. In 2021, systemwide sales surpassed $250 million, after only passing $200 million in 2020. Same-store sales increased 15 percent year-over-year and systemwide AUV eclipsed $1 million, with the top quartile at $1.6 million. Additionally, digital mix has tripled in the past two years and accounted for more than $100 million in 2021, or about 40 percent of total sales.
The company also described 2021 as "the foundation for the most significant franchise development expansion in its history." Mountain Mike's opened 18 new restaurants and signed development agreements for more than 60 stores. In 2022, the chain expects 30 new openings, including debuts in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, and Texas.
“We are very grateful for our successful partnership with [Levine Leichtman Capital Partners] over the past five years," Britt said in a statement. "As we look forward to the continued growth of Mountain Mike’s Pizza across the country, the contributions LLCP has made to our strategy and franchising capabilities have been instrumental to our accomplishments to date.”
St. Geme added, "[Levine Leichtman Capital Partners] has been the perfect value-add partner for us, and their people have been great to work with. We will miss their counsel and our collaboration.”
Honigman LLP served as legal counsel to Levine Leichtman in connection with the transaction.