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Sentinel Capital Partners, a private equity firm that invests in lower-middle-market companies, today announced the sale of Southern California Pizza Company, the largest Pizza Hut franchisee in Southern California with 224 locations. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sentinel built Southern California Pizza during the course of four years through two major transactions, as well as the opening of new locations. In 2008, Southern California Pizza acquired its first 123 restaurants through a corporate divestiture by franchisor Pizza Hut Inc. A year later, Sentinel acquired an additional 98 restaurants from Pizza Hut Inc.

These two acquisitions together with new unit openings made Southern California Pizza the largest Pizza Hut franchisee in California and the third largest in the 7,600-store U.S. Pizza Hut system. All 224 Southern California Pizza restaurants are located in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties.

"We are extremely pleased with our investment in Southern California Pizza," said John McCormack, senior partner at Sentinel. "During our ownership, we were fortunate to partner with one of the top management teams in the industry and to receive strong brand support from Pizza Hut. We feel privileged to have been part of the Pizza Hut system during the past four years and thank the management teams at both Pizza Hut and parent company YUM! Brands for their outstanding leadership."

"Together with our partners at Sentinel, we created a powerful Pizza Hut platform that is a leader in the important Los Angeles quick-service restaurant market," added Jerry Ardizzone, CEO of Southern California Pizza and a Pizza Hut veteran. "Our company remains well-positioned for the future and we are excited about the opportunities ahead." -2-

Sentinel's prior investments include Falcon Holdings, a Church's Chicken franchisee; and Border Foods, a Taco Bell franchisee. Earlier this year, Sentinel acquired Huddle House, a leading franchisor and operator of family dining restaurants in the southeastern U.S.

Read more franchising news.

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