MTY Food Group, parent of Papa Murphy’s and several other chains, announced Tuesday that it’s spending $207 million to acquire Wetzel’s Pretzels.
The California-based snack chain operates more than 350 locations in 25 states, Canada, and Panama, with 90 percent of those being franchised. In the past year, sales reached $245 million. The transaction is expected to close in the next 30 to 45 days.
“This transaction represents another key acquisition for MTY as it adds another iconic brand to MTY’s U.S. portfolio,” Eric Lefebvre, CEO of MTY, said in a statement. “The transaction enhances MTY’s footprint in the snack category, with Wetzel’s Pretzels’ strong network of franchise partners, well-run corporate-owned locations, and a best-in-class management team. Its products are extremely craveable and are recognized everywhere in the U.S. by a broad range of customers. We look forward to exploring all the opportunities this transaction brings to both companies”
Wetzel’s is currently owned by private equity firm CenterOak Partners, which bought the chain in 2016. Capitalizing on a COVID resurgence, the brand’s same-store sales grew 24 percent in 2021 compared to 2019. At the time of the announcement, the company said there were 40 new stores planned for this year, and that includes nontraditional spaces like big-box retailers, convenience stores, and mobile food trucks. Wetzel’s formed a partnership with both Macy’s and the Phillips 66 family of convenience stores. Additionally, in August, the concept announced the opening of a co-branded drive-thru location with Thirst, a Utah-based beverage company.
The chain said it expected its 400th location to debut in 2023.
“I think the pretzel fits in for folks,” CEO Jenn Schuler told QSR in October 2021. “It’s very comforting. Hot fresh bread, a sense of nostalgia ties you back to something in your youth, whether that was the Wetzel’s you had at the mall or one you had at an amusement park or state fair.”
This is MTY’s second major purchase of 2022. In August, the group revealed that it agreed to purchase Famous Dave’s parent BBQ Holdings for $200 million.
The restaurant organization operates roughly 90 quick-service and casual-dining restaurants and nearly 7,000 stores in Canada, the U.S., and across the world. Some of the more notable brands in the portfolio include Baja Fresh, TCBY, Blimpie, Coldstone, Pinkberry, Papa Murphy’s, and Sweetfrog.