Rita's Italian Ice

Rita’s acquired by private-equity groups

Argosy Private Equity and MTN Capital Partners take controlling stake in Italian ice chain

Argosy Private Equity and MTN Capital Partners LLC have acquired a controlling stake in Trevose, Penn.-based Italian ice chain Rita’s Franchise Co. from Falconhead Capital, the firms said Tuesday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jeff Moody will remain as Rita’s president and CEO, and Kirk Griswold, Argosy’s founding partner, will become Rita’s chairman.

“Being Philly based, we know firsthand the love that guests have for Rita’s,” Griswold said in a statement. “Falconhead and the executive leadership team have done a tremendous job growing this once regional brand nationally, and even internationally.”

Former Philadelphia firefighter Bob Tumolo founded Rita’s in 1984, selling Italian ice from a small porch window alongside his mother and brother.

Falconhead acquired Rita’s in 2011, when it had 550 locations. Today, Rita’s has more than 600 units in the U.S., and is working to expand internationally in the Philippines, Canada and the Middle East.

Argosy was founded in 1990, and is based in Wayne, Penn. The firm has $600 million in assets under management. Among the firm’s current investments is 95-unit Pizza Hut franchisee American Huts Inc.

MTN Capital Parters is a New York City-based firm that focuses on middle-market companies and has been associated with more than $500 million in business acquisitions in a broad range of industries, including retail and consumer products.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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