Australian retail food brand manager and franchisor Retail Food Group Limited announced its entry into a conditional Sale & Purchase Agreement (SPA) to acquire the Crust Gourmet Pizza Bars brand system.

First established in Sydney in late 2001, Crust has grown to 119 outlets in the take away pizza market. Whilst based predominantly in NSW and Victoria, the Crust system now includes a presence in New Zealand, Singapore and, most recently, the U.S.

The transaction follows RFG's acquisition of the 118 outlet Pizza Capers Gourmet Kitchen brand system in April 2012.

"Not only will the transaction consolidate another impressive retail food system under the company's umbrella, it delivers on a number of strategic initiatives most important of which being the immediate scale provided by ownership of both the Crust and Pizza Capers brand systems; the further investment within the QSR category; and reduced reliance on shopping centers for outlet growth," said RFG CEO Tony Alford.

RFG intends to develop each brand as a distinct system, while leveraging supply side economics, collaborative marketing and R&D activities.

Completion of the transaction is anticipated by the end of September 2012.

Crust CEO Michael Logos will remain with the business post settlement and, together with co-founder and Managing Director Costa Anastasiadis, will continue to steer the business under the oversight of RFG National Office.

"The transaction is the culmination of a six month engagement during which we have had the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with RFG management, culture and strategic objectives. Having regard to those matters, the opportunity to partner with a growing public company with proven expertise in the retail food franchising industry offers our franchisees and other stakeholders early access to the benefits of a larger organization whilst retaining the core attributes that have generated the Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar success story to date", Logos said.

Crust's first U.S. outlet opened in Studio City, Calif., in May.

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