Angelo, Gordon Buys Firebirds International


The PE group of Angelo, Gordon & Co. has acquired Firebirds International. Firebird’s founders also took part in the deal. Financial terms of the transaction were not announced. Firebirds, which features an American grill-focused menu, has 18 restaurants spread through Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

PRIVATE EQUITY

Angelo, Gordon & Co. (“Angelo Gordon”) announced today that the firm’s Private Equity Group has partnered with the founders of Firebirds International, LLC (“Firebirds”) to acquire the company, which owns and operates 18 Firebirds Wood Fired Grill locations nationwide.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Firebirds – which features an American grill-focused menu – was founded approximately 10 years ago by Dennis Thompson and Doug Glendenning, who will continue as shareholders and directors of the company.  The company’s CEO will continue to be Mark Eason, a restaurant industry veteran with nearly 30 years of experience.  Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., the company has restaurants in Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia with new sites scheduled to open throughout the remainder of this year.  On average, units range in size from 6,000 to 7,500 square feet, and are typically built in lifestyle centers or strip centers.

When it first opened its doors in 2000, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill locations introduced a taste of Colorado to the eastern US.  The restaurant’s upscale casual design includes exposed wood, stone and an indoor fireplace, all of which make for a comfortable and dynamic dining experience.  The centerpiece of Firebird’s exposed kitchen is its signature wood-burning grill.  In addition to expertly seasoned wood-grilled steaks, guests can have freshly grilled seafood, burgers and oversized salads, as well as ice cold martinis and great bottles of wine.  More information about the company can be found at www.firebirdsrestaurants.com.

“Firebirds has all the hallmarks of a great restaurant company and is comparable to the best I’ve worked with over the past 15 years as a restaurant investor,” said Richard Leonard, a Managing Director at Angelo Gordon.  “We are very excited to be working with Doug, Dennis, Mark and the entire Firebirds team.  They’ve built a great company and we think Firebirds will be successful across a wide range of geographies and markets.  Our plan is to help the company grow significantly by adding locations over the next several years.”

Angelo Gordon’s Private Equity Group, which is currently investing its fourth fund, makes control equity investments with deal sizes ranging from $50 million to $500 million.  Sector focus includes financial services, healthcare, and consumer/retail.  The restaurant industry has been and will continue to be a key area of focus for the firm within the consumer/retail sector.  Angelo Gordon partners with world-class managers and operators to find and manage investment opportunities.  The Private Equity Group targets investments with a consistent theme of demonstrating strong and consistent growth with dynamic management teams.

Dennis Thompson and Doug Glendenning said, “We believe Angelo Gordon has the resources necessary to help take Firebirds to the next level by assisting us in opening new locations across the country.  We’re also thrilled to be working with Richard, who has demonstrated significant experience in helping grow a variety of restaurant concepts throughout his career.”

About Angelo, Gordon & Co.

Angelo, Gordon & Co., L.P. is a privately held limited partnership founded in November 1988, and currently manages approximately $24 billion.  The Firm’s investment focus centers around core competencies of credit, real estate, and private equity.  Angelo, Gordon manages capital across five principal areas:  (i) distressed debt and leveraged loans, (ii) real estate equity and debt, (iii) residential and commercial mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, (iv) private equity, and (v) multi-strategy.  Angelo, Gordon has over 200 employees (approximately half of whom are investment professionals) and is headquartered in New York, with associated offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., London, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Sydney.  For more information, visit www.angelogordon.com.