LNK Partners to buy Au Bon Pain

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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BOSTON and WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Au Bon Pain and LNK Partners, a private equity firm focused on the consumer retail sector, have entered an agreement for LNK to partner with management to recapitalize the company.

"LNK is the ideal partner for Au Bon Pain at this stage of growth," said Sue Morelli, president and chief executive officer of Au Bon Pain. "The LNK team is highly knowledgeable and respectable in our sector and will provide us with valuable strategic guidance and industry insights as we move forward. Au Bon Pain’s balance sheet remains strong, allowing us to achieve our strategic goals."

The recapitalization transaction is expected to close in the first quarter and LNK and Au Bon Pain management will acquire a majority ownership interest in the company with LNK and its affiliates investing more than $100 million in equity. Compass Group P.L.C., which owned the company from 2000 to 2005, will remain an equity and strategic partner. An investment group led by PNC Mezzanine Capital including AlpInvest Partners n.v. will sell its interest in the company.

"We are very excited to be backing the Au Bon Pain management team," said Jeff Perlman, managing director of LNK Partners. "The Au Bon Pain brand is highly recognized and uniquely positioned with a strong and differentiated consumer value proposition. Further, the company is conservatively capitalized to enable significant future growth."

Au Bon Pain operates cafes focusing on high-quality breakfast and lunch foods and generated sales revenue of almost $300 million in 2007.

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