Thomas H. Lee Buys Fogo de Chao

Buyout shop Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P., has acquired restaurant chain Fogo de Chao Churrascaria. The seller was GP Investments. Terms were not released. Fogo de Chao Churrascaria operates 18 restaurants in the U.S. and seven in Brazil.


Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (“THL”), a leading private equity firm focused on investments in global businesses headquartered in North America, and GP Investments, Ltd. (“GP Investments”), a leading alternative asset investment firm in Latin America, announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement under which THL will acquire from GP Investments Fogo de Chao Churrascaria (Holdings), LLC (“Fogo”), a group of fine dining, full-service restaurants headquartered in Dallas, TX with eighteen locations in the U.S. and seven locations in Brazil.


“With three new restaurants opened in the past 12 months, Fogo has charted a compelling growth path. We couldn’t be more pleased to be partnering with an investor like THL. Their expertise in working with management teams to support and deliver profitable growth in consumer-driven businesses is a great match for Fogo, our passion for the guest experience and where we are heading in the future,” said Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Fogo.


“We have tremendous respect for Fogo’s innovative dining experience and unparalleled commitment to customer service and quality. This tradition of excellence has been built and nurtured at Fogo over the past three decades and has continued in recent years under the leadership of the Fogo management team. We look forward to working with the team to continue to grow the business for the benefit of all Fogo stakeholders,” said Jeff T. Swenson, Managing Director of THL.


“We are very proud of Fogo de Chao’s achievements to date and are confident that the Company is on track for a future of continued value creation,” said Danilo Gamboa, Managing Director at GP Investments.


The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. J.P. Morgan and Jefferies Finance LLC are providing committed financing for the transaction. Jefferies & Company, Inc. acted as financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal advisor to THL. J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal advisor for Fogo de Chao.


About Thomas H. Lee Partners


Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (“THL”) is one of the world’s oldest and most experienced private equity firms. The firm invests in growth-oriented global businesses, headquartered principally in North America, within three broad sectors: Consumer & Healthcare, Media & Information Services and Business & Financial Services. THL’s team of investment and operating professionals partner with its portfolio company management teams to identify and implement business model improvements that accelerate sustainable revenue and profit growth. Since its founding in 1974, THL has raised approximately $22 billion of equity capital and invested in more than 100 businesses with an aggregate purchase price of more than $150 billion. The firm seeks to build companies of lasting value while generating superior returns for its investors and operating partners. For more information, please visit .


About GP Investments


GP Investments, a leading alternative asset investment firm in Latin America, has been actively investing in the region since 1993. GP Investments has raised over US$5 billion with a track record of 49 completed deals across 15 different sectors. In May 2006, GP Investments concluded its IPO, becoming the first listed alternative asset investment firm in Latin America. For more information see GP Investments’ web-site ( ) or contact the company’s media contacts.


About Fogo de Chao


Fogo de Chao is an authentic Southern Brazilian steakhouse or churrascaria. Founded in 1979 in Southern Brazil, Fogo expanded into the U.S. in 1997. The award-winning dining experience is based on the centuries-old gaucho tradition known as churrasco, the gaucho way of roasting meats over open pits of fire. The Company’s U.S. restaurants are in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Scottsdale, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Orlando. Brazilian restaurants are in Vila Olimpia, Moema and Santo Amaro in Sao Paulo; Salvador, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro.