COPPELL, Texas -- Cici's Pizza have announced that a management-led buyout of the company was completed on Sept. 22.

According to a news release, the all-you-eat, value-priced pizza buffet chain was founded by Joe Croce in 1985. Its system includes 450 stores located in 21 U.S. states generating $336 million in annual sales.

"Our system is strong, we've got great people and a quality product, and we expect to continue on the solid growth track that has brought Cici's to the successful place it is today," said Craig Moore, 45, the company's newly appointed president. "For our franchisees and our customers, this transition will be seamless."

Several months ago, Croce, 45, announced he would sell the chain to his management team, backed by an investment firm, in order to spend more time with his wife and young children. Collectively, the new owners have 32 years experience with Cici's, and more than 80 years of foodservice and franchising experience.

"We've got some solid tenure, and we've always run the company like we owned it," said Moore. "We're going to continue doing that."

The owners, in addition to Moore, are Robert A. Kulick, J. Forbes Anderson, Robert Parent, and Levine Leichtman Capital Partners.

Previously, Moore held the position of vice president of operations and has been with Cici's for 10 years.

Kulick joined the company in 1992 and will continue as president of Cici's distribution arm, JMC Restaurant Distribution.

Anderson will continue as chief financial officer of both companies, a position he has held for eight years.

Parent will continue as senior vice president of development, a position he has held for four years.

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners is a private investment firm with in excess of $800 million of institutional capital for investment in middle-market companies headquartered in the Western United States. The firm provides capital to companies for management buyouts, growth and expansion.

Read related Cici's stories ...
* CiCi's Pizza founder insisted sale be an inside deal
* CiCi's Pizza franchise group appoints Speck as chief people officer
* CiCi's to add 25 units to St Louis area
* Cici's Pizza to give D.C.-area residents all they can eat
* CiCi's founder, Croce, selling pizza chain to management team
* CiCi's Research Center

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