Blackstone Completes Acquisition of Tropical Smoothie Cafe

by Katie Lee

Atlanta and New York City — Private equity funds managed by Blackstone have completed the acquisition of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a leading franchisor of fast-casual restaurants, from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. This marks the first transaction in Blackstone’s most recent vintage of its flagship private equity vehicle.

“Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a nationally recognized brand with an impressive growth trajectory underpinned by a base of loyal franchisees and guests,” says Peter Wallace, a senior managing director, and Michael Staub, a managing director, in Blackstone’s private equity business. “With Blackstone’s capital and resources, we look forward to accelerating the company’s continued expansion across the country and supporting innovation to further capitalize on the brand’s unique positioning.”

“By partnering with Blackstone, Tropical Smoothie Cafe will be able to Inspire Better® in more communities nationwide alongside our dedicated franchisees,” says Charles Watson, chief executive officer of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC. “2024 will be another big year in our growth trajectory, as we focus on operational excellence, menu innovation and the digital guest experience.”

Blackstone’s investment in Tropical Smoothie Cafe is the most recent example of a number of leading franchisors the firm has partnered with to help propel their continued growth, including Hilton Hotels and SERVPRO. As part of this transaction, Nigel Travis, former CEO of Dunkin’ Brands, will serve as chairman of the board for Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

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 in connection with the sale.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a national fast-casual restaurant brand founded in 1997; today it has more than 1,400 locations in 44 states.

Blackstone is the world’s largest alternative asset manager with more than $1 trillion in assets under management include global investment strategies focused on real estate, private equity, infrastructure and more. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Blackstone

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