PE-backed Cold Stone Creamery sells franchise interest in Japan to Hotland

Ice cream chain Cold Stone Creamery, a subsidiary of Scottsdale, Arizona-based restaurant brands company Kahala Corp, has sold its interest in the master franchisee in Japan to HotLand Corp to further develop the concept within that country. Financial details of the transaction were not released. Kahala was last year acquired by Markham, Ontario’s Serruya family, which manages a private equity fund that invests in retail franchises. Kahala is also a portfolio company of Canadian private equity firm Delavaco Group.


Cold Stone Creamery Deal Brings New Expansion Opportunities To Japan

HotLand Corp. Purchases Controlling Interest of Brand in Japan With Goal to Open 100 Cold Stone Stores by End of 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — In a deal announced today, Cold Stone Creamery® ( has sold their interest as the Master Franchisee in Japan to HotLand Corp. to further develop the concept within the country. This move brings immense development opportunities for the brand to secure and open more locations than had originally been scheduled, allowing a highly qualified Japanese-based company to grow the concept location by location. To date, the ability for the chain to work with first-class Master Franchisees like HotLand Corp. has enabled Cold Stone Creamery to spread America’s most innovative ice cream concept to 30 countries worldwide.

HotLand Corp. brings over two decades of experience in the Food & Beverage industry to the table with concepts such as Gindaco, The Taiyaki, Sakura-Street and nine other concepts spanning Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.

“We are thrilled to be able to take this world-class brand to more people across Japan”, said Morio Sase, Founder and President of HotLand Corp. “Cold Stone Creamery offers the best in product quality and an amazing in-store experience that we already know the Japanese people have embraced over the last eight years. Through this purchase, we are able to continue our mission and passion of delivering the best in delicious food to as many people across the globe as we are able, for many years to come.”

Just like Cold Stone Creamery, HotLand Corp. also works to bring co-branding opportunities to their umbrella of concepts. With their family of brands, there is the ability to build out locations that offer both a Cold Stone Creamery and a HotLand concept in one footprint, thus bringing even more variety to the consumer.

“We are very excited about what has transpired between Cold Stone Creamery and HotLand Corp.,” said Michael Serruya, Chairman and CEO of Kahala. “They have tremendous passion about what they do and are extremely committed to an accelerated development schedule. The Japanese people have shown such great support of our brand since we entered the country in 2005 and with the leverage and strength HotLand Corp. offers, the deal exceeds all of our expectations. We have been given a great opportunity here to be able to align with such a strong F&B Franchisor who will serve as an amazing counterpart to us in Japan.”

Currently there are 34 Cold Stone Creamery stores operating in Japan. Under the new agreement with HotLand Corp., the goal is to have 100 stores opened throughout Japan by the end of 2017.

Kahala has continued to make a strong impact in achieving their international development goals in recent years with their brands such as Cold Stone Creamery. The international growth of Kahala began in November 2005 when the company opened its first international Cold Stone Creamery store in Tokyo, Japan. Today, Kahala stores are operating in more than 562 international locations and now in 30 different countries including South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Trinidad, Nigeria, Egypt and Brazil.

About Cold Stone Creamery
Cold Stone Creamery delivers the Ultimate Ice Cream Experience through a community of franchisees who are passionate about ice cream. The secret recipe for smooth and creamy ice cream is handcrafted fresh daily in each store, and then customized by combining a variety of mix-ins on a frozen granite stone. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Cold Stone Creamery is a subsidiary of Kahala, one of the fastest growing franchising companies in the world, with a portfolio of 15 quick-service restaurant brands. Cold Stone Creamery currently operates more than 1,500 locations in 30 countries.

For more information about Cold Stone Creamery, visit

For more information about Kahala, visit

SOURCE Cold Stone Creamery

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