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Brentwood Associates finalizes Chicken Salad Chick acquisition

Merchant Eagle Partners exits the investment after four years

Brentwood Associates acquired a majority stake in Chicken Salad Chick, known as SSRG Holdings. Eagle Merchant Partners had invested in the brand back in 2015. The private equity firm is now exiting the investment. The transaction for an undisclosed amount provides Brentwood with another restaurant brand to add it to is consumer-oriented portfolio. Up until the Chicken Salad Chick acquisition, about three brands had made up the recent Brentwood restaurant portfolio—most notably, Blaze Pizza.

“Chicken Salad Chick’s model fits well within our strategy of investing in high-growth, best-in-class consumer businesses, said Rahul Aggarwal, partner at Brentwood. Bur & Forman LLP advised Brentwood on the deal. In 2008, founders Stacy and Kevin Brown started the fast-casual concept in Auburn, Ala. Over time the 137-unit Chicken Salad Chick became known for its made-from-scratch chicken salads.

Additionally, the quick-serve concept earned many awards, including a Fast Casual Magazine award for being a top Mover and Shaker. The Chicken Salad Chick acquisition by Brentwood should provide more legroom for the chain in its next stage of growth. Brentwood has invested over $6B in 50 consumer-centric brands over three decades.

Chicken Salad Chick CEO Scott Deviney continues to lead the chain, according to the announcement. “We are very excited to partner with Brentwood on the next chapter for Chicken Salad Chick,” he said.

Chicken Salad Chick primed for big expansion

The relationship with Eagle Merchant Partners took the chain from 32 units to 137. At the time, the leadership team was beefed up with the addition of Russ Umphenour as chairman of the Board and Deviney as president and chief executive. Previously, Umphenour served as chief executive of Focus Brands, while Deviney held the role of SDZ chief executive. SDZ operated several Wendy’s franchises in Atlanta.

Fast-casual Chicken Salad Chick also offers homemade pimento cheese and egg salad. In addition, the menu includes fresh sides, soups and desserts. North Point Advisors, LLC advised Chicken Salad Chick on the deal. In addition, King & Spalding LLP provided legal counsel to the chain.

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Photo credit: Chicken Salad Chick

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