ACON buys pizza restaurant chain

The Washington, DC-based firm joins a wave of several other firms investing in the restaurant industry with the purchase of Peter Piper, a pizza chain popular with Hispanics consumers.

Washington, DC-based ACON Investments has bought Peter Piper, a pizza restaurant chain, ACON said in a statement. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

“We are very excited about partnering with ACON to more fully exploit our growth opportunities, including new restaurant openings in our core and contiguous markets and expansions of our domestic and international franchise systems, Frank Sbordone, the president and chief executive officer of Peter Piper, said in the statement. Sbordone, along with other management officials, will maintain his position at the company.

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Peter Piper operates more than 130 restaurants in the Southwest of the US, including in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico. It also has some restaurants in Northern Mexico, the statement said. The chain’s family-friendly environment, including its entertainment facilities like interactive games and a small indoor playground, have made it particularly successful, the statement said.

“The concept has significant appeal among Hispanics because of its family focus and affordable price points, as evidenced by Peter Piper’s success in large Hispanic markets along the US-Mexico border and in Mexico,” Daniel Jinich, a managing partner of ACON Investments, said in the statement. “We see a terrific opportunity to take advantage of the continued growth and expanding purchasing power of the Hispanic population and believe that Peter Piper is well positioned to deliver a unique family dining experience to Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers alike.”

Ten-year-old ACON makes investments in the US, Europe and Latin America. In addition to Washington, the firm has offices in Los Angels and Madrid, Spain. The firm sold its stake in Carulla Vivero, Colombia’s second largest retailer, to Almacenes Éxito, Colombia’s largest retailer, for approximately $700 million in August.

ACON’s investment in the restaurant industry follows a string of such investments in recent weeks. Washington, DC-based middle market finance provider Allied Capital committed approximately $124 million to buy Huddle House, Inc., a franchise of full-service, family dining restaurants, in December. New York- and London-based MidOcean Partners, agreed to buy Melville, New York-based quick service Italian restaurant chain Sbarro for approximately $450 million in November. Earlier that month, Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital joined Greenwich, Connecticut-based Catterton Partners to buy Tampa, Florida-based OSI Restaurant Partners, the parent of numerous restaurant chains, for approximately $3.2 billion.