Giordano's sold to private equity group

Nov. 20, 2011

Less than a year after filing for bankruptcy, Chicago staple Giordano's Enterprises Inc. has been sold to VPC Pizza Holdings LLC for $52 million.

VPC Pizza Holdings is a a Delaware limited liability company formed by Victory Park Capital (VPC), a Chicago-based distressed private debt and equity investment firm.

The acquisition was approved last week by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

VPC was also granted an order approving the sale of 740 North Rush St., Giordano's flagship property in Chicago's Gold Coast, for $16 million, up from the opening offer of $12.85 million. A closing of the sale is expected on Nov. 30, 2011.

A release said VPC's winning bid of $52 million was the only buyout offer with the support of members of the management team, and "recognized the value inherent in maintaining and operating all of Giordano's tangible equity and intellectual property, including its iconic Giordano's brand."

Other previous offers, including one made in October for $26 million, were called "stalking horse" bids.

VPC plans to export the "World's Greatest Deep Dish Pizza" franchise throughout the U.S., while protecting the thousands of employees currently at the company in Chicago and Florida.

"Giordano's has been a symbol of Chicago for almost 40 years and has held the title of Greatest Deep Dish Pizza for most of that time. Our solution combines the critical funding and operational expertise needed to make the necessary investments and management changes that will reposition Giordano's for long-term growth and continue to build on an iconic brand for generations to come," said Richard Levy, chairman of VPC Pizza Holdings LLC and managing partner of Victory Park Capital.

VPC has partnered with Bill and George Apostolou to preserve the Giordano's brand.

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Topics: Financial Management , Financing and capital improvements , Franchising & Growth , Operations Management

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