Greenwich based L Catterton will purchase the Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group for $650 million. The Greenwich, CT based private equity firm’s holdings will now include Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco, two of southwestern Connecticut’s most-popular upscale restaurant chains.
The deal to take Irving, Texas-based Del Frisco’s private comes about a year after Del Frisco’s $325 million purchase of Barcelona and Bartaco’s then-parent company, Norwalk-based Barteca. Barcelona and Bartaco will be run separately from Del Frisco’s two steakhouse brands because L Catterton wants to “nurture the unique attributes of the brands.”
“At L Catterton, we bring more than just capital — we bring significant operational expertise to our investments,” L Catterton Managing Partner Andrew Taub said. “Del Frisco’s has four outstanding brands in two distinct and attractive categories – upscale regionally inspired cuisine, and steak and grill. We’re excited to partner with the company to harness the power of these brands by operating the upscale regionally inspired brands separately from the steak and grill concepts.”
The sale of Del Frisco’s, which is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter of this year, culminates a six-month saga. Last December, the company announced that it would assess a number of options, including a potential sale. It had faced pressure from activist investor Engaged Capital — the company’s third-largest shareholder, with a nearly 10 percent stake — which had criticized the management of its steakhouse restaurants and faulted its acquisition strategy.
In Connecticut, Mediterranean-influenced Barcelona has locations in Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield, New Haven and West Hartford. In the state, there are Bartaco establishments in Stamford, Westport and West Hartford. Across the state line, it has a restaurant in Port Chester, N.Y. A Del Frisco’s Grille in downtown Stamford closed in June 2018, after a three-year run. Del Frisco’s also runs the Del Frisco’s Grille and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse groups. In total, the company has 78 restaurants across 17 states.
During the past 30 years, Greenwich-based L Catterton has invested in nearly 30 restaurant brands, including Bloomin’ Brands Inc., which comprises Outback Steakhouse, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill; CÉ LA VI; Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen; Crystal Jade; Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges, P.F. Chang’s and Uncle Julio’s.
“L Catterton brings a distinguished track record of fostering the growth and success of world class experiential brands,” Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group CEO Norman Abdallah said in a statement. “Together with their deep operational expertise in the restaurant industry, I am confident L Catterton will be a great long-term partner.”
L Catterton has also built roots in other segments of foodservice with last year’s acquisition of Cholula, a producer and distributor of Mexican-made hot sauce. Describing itself as the “largest consumer-focused private equity firm in the world,” L Catterton operates with more than $15 billion of equity capital.