Criterion Capital Partners (CCP), a Los Angeles-based merchant bank best known for turning distressed companies into profitable entities, announced it has acquired 10 Fatburger franchise restaurants from Fatburger Restaurants of California, Inc., a subsidiary of holding company Fatburger Corporation.

CCP obtained the fast-casual restaurants by outbidding a number of interested parties when the franchises were put up for auction in a bankruptcy sale in late March 2011. The merchant bank acquired ownership through a §363 sale, which transfers the acquired assets free and clear of any liens.

The deal, led by CCP’s Managing Director Adam Levin, gives Criterion ownership of franchises in the greater Los Angeles and Southern California region in the following locations: Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Granada Hills, Redondo Beach, Baldwin Hills, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Orange, Irvine, and Rancho Cucomonga.

“We have seen what CCP has done to turn break-even or profitable companies into revenue generating machines, so we are of course, thrilled to have them take a role as one of our biggest franchise owners in the nation,” says Andy Wiederhorn, chairman and CEO of franchisor Fatburger North America.

“We are very pleased to become one of the nation’s largest Fatburger franchise owners, not just because we see the incredible profit generating potential of each restaurant, but because we appreciate the commitment the Fatburger brand has to providing people with locally-sourced, quality food and a fun atmosphere,” Levin says.

The acquisition of the Fatburger franchises is part of an aggressive acquisitions and investment strategy by the merchant bank, which owns or has significant interests in other fast-casual restaurants, sporting apparel manufacturers, and a collection of entertainment, technology, and e-commerce companies. CCP recently acquired social networking site from AOL just two years after the internet giant paid $850 million dollars for it in 2008. Since then, under the leadership of Levin, CCP has significantly reorganized and redesigned the social platform, recruited industry pioneers (including the Bebo founder, Michael Birch and Kevin Bachus, the co-creator of Xbox), and turned into a profitable enterprise.

Burgers, Fast Casual, Finance, News, Fatburger