Blackstone to Acquire Tropical Smoothie Cafe

This would be the first transaction from Blackstone’s most recent vintage of its flagship private equity vehicle, and is intended to help accelerate Tropical Smoothie Cafe's already-rapid expansion through continued investment in menu innovation, operating excellence, and best-in-class marketing.

Apr 25, 2024 - 14:46

Blackstone announced today that private equity funds managed by Blackstone have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a leading franchisor of fast casual restaurants, from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. This would be the first transaction from Blackstone’s most recent vintage of its flagship private equity vehicle, and is intended to help accelerate Tropical Smoothie Cafe's already-rapid expansion through continued investment in menu innovation, operating excellence, and best-in-class marketing.

Blackstone has a long history of successfully propelling the growth of leading franchisors, including in its previous acquisitions of Hilton Hotels and SERVPRO. Tropical Smoothie Cafe began operating as a single location on a beach in Destin, Florida in 1997, and has grown into a nationally recognized brand with more than 1,400 locations in 44 states across the U.S. today. Known for its delicious mix of smoothies and food offerings, the company opened more than 175 new locations in 2023 alone, 70 percent of which were opened by existing franchisees. Tropical Smoothie Cafe has also been ranked #1 in the Smoothie/Juice Category by Entrepreneur Franchisee 500 for four consecutive years.

Peter Wallace, a Senior Managing Director in Blackstone’s Private Equity business, said, “Tropical Smoothie Cafe has had an impressive growth trajectory consistently building on its loyal customer base as it has scaled nationwide. Blackstone has deep experience helping accelerate the expansion of leading franchise businesses as one of our highest-conviction investment areas. We believe our capital and resources will help position Tropical Smoothie Cafe for continued success and innovation for the benefit of its guests and franchisees.”

Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, said, “The key to this business is delivering an outstanding experience for each guest who walks through our doors. From high-quality products to exceptional guest service, our franchisees make our mission to become a beloved brand a reality day in and day out, and we are thrilled to see how the brand will continue to grow with Blackstone’s outstanding global resources behind it.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Barclays served as financial advisor and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal counsel to Blackstone. Baird served as the lead financial advisor, with support from North Point and BofA Securities, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Tropical Smoothie Cafe.