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El Pollo Loco franchisee acquires Wendy’s franchisee

El Pollo Loco franchisee acquires Wendy’s franchisee

WKS Restaurant Group adds 52 restaurants to its multi-brand holdings

WKS Restaurant Group, the largest El Pollo Loco franchisee, has acquired Pennant Foods Corp. and its 52 Wendy’s in Southern California, the company said this week.

Lakewood, Calif.-based WKS, which now owns more than 180 franchise restaurants that include such other brands as Blaze Pizza, Corner Bakery Café, Denny’s and Krispy Kreme, purchased Pennant from funds managed by Boca Raton, Fla.-based Brockway Moran & Partners Inc.

Brockaway had acquired Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pennant in March 2003.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but financing was provided by CapitalSpring, a private-investment firm focused on the restaurant industry.

Roland Spongberg, CEO of WKS, said his company has worked with CapitalSpring on prior acquisitions.

“We have enjoyed a relationship with the firm since 2011,” Spongberg said in a statement, “and their consistent ability to leverage creative financing solutions to meet the needs of our business and our acquisitions makes them a trusted and reliable partner.”

In addition to CapitalSpring, WKS’ existing senior lenders, led by Wintrust Franchise Finance, served as co-lenders on the Pennant deal. Wintrust Franchise Finance is a division of Lake Forest Bank & Trust Co. a Wintrust Community Bank.

“WKS has a long history of growth and operational excellence across multiple concepts and geographies,” said Tee Isenhour, a principal at CapitalSpring, in a news release, “and we look forward to future opportunities together across their brand portfolio.”

Capital Spring has about $1.3 billion in assets under management, representing about 4,000 restaurant locations, said Richard Fitzgerald (left), the company’s co-founder and managing partner, at this week’s ICR Conference.

WKS, founded in 1987, is the largest El Pollo Loco and Krispy Kreme franchise group.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP served as legal advisor to WKS in the transaction. CapitalSpring was represented by Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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