C is for Carlyle, Cookie: PE Firm Takes Stake in Mrs. Fields

Utah-based Mrs. Fields’ Famous Brands, franchisor of cookie-maker and TCBY, completed a refinancing with Z Capital Partners and the Carlyle Group. Specifics of the transaction were not publicized.

PRESS RELEASE:

New Owners Z Capital Partners and The Carlyle Group Invest in Company’s Growth Potential Following Refinancing
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, DECEMBER 14, 2011 — Mrs. Fields Famous Brands (the “Company”), a franchisor of Mrs. Fields and TCBY, announces the completion of its previously announced exchange offer and refinancing, signed and recorded on December 13, 2011. In addition to improving its capital structure and providing access to additional funding, the Company expects this transaction will accelerate its profitable growth strategy.
“As we head into 2012, our focus is clear: exceed the expectations of our loyal customers through product innovation and great brand experiences; deliver on franchise support across Mrs. Fields and TCBY; and, grow our consumer and franchise bases, domestically and internationally,” explains Tim Casey, President and CEO, Mrs. Fields Famous Brands. “We have tremendous financial partners in Z Capital Partners and The Carlyle Group and two long-standing brands that have the potential to shape their respective segments, domestically and internationally. ”
In 2011, Mrs. Fields and TCBY have registered notable achievements including one of the industry’s biggest franchise deals, a 200-store TCBY signing in Texas; continued global expansion for both Mrs. Fields and TCBY in the form of country-wide and market-wide development deals; TCBY’s launch of Super Fro-Yo, the industry’s first super healthy classification of frozen yogurt; and, the introduction of new store designs for both concepts.
James Zenni, President and Chief Executive Officer of Z Capital, says, “We are proud to become owners of Mrs. Fields and support the management team as it continues to execute its business strategy. Mrs. Fields and TCBY are both iconic brands, and we are excited about their exceptional growth potential.”
“We continue to believe in the growth potential of the company and two of America’s most recognizable food-related brands,” adds Michael Stewart, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group. “Couple that with an experienced management team and the company’s emphasis on innovation, and we have strong expectations heading into 2012.”
About Mrs. Fields Famous Brands
The Company is a well-established franchisor in the premium snack food industry, featuring Mrs. Fields® and TCBY® as its core brands. Through its franchisees’ retail stores, it is one of the largest retailers of freshly baked, on-premises specialty cookies and brownies in the world and the largest retailer of soft-serve frozen yogurt with live active cultures. Its franchise systems operate through a network of more than 950 franchised and licensed locations throughout the United States and in 23 foreign countries. In addition, it operates an internet and catalog gifting business, a branded retail business and has entered into licensing arrangements that leverage awareness of its core brands among its retail customer base. The Company is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which such offering would be unlawful.
This press release contains forward-looking statements conveying management’s expectations as to the future based on current plans, estimates and projections. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties and the Company cautions you that a number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any such forward-looking statement. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release include statements related to the completion of the Refinancing. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company does not undertake to update any of these statements in light of new information or future events, except, with respect to the Refinancing, as specifically set forth in this press release.