Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, a middle market private equity company, is reportedly planning to sell US restaurant chain Tropical Smoothie Café.

The potential deal could be valued at $2bn, Reuters has reported.

Levine Leichtman has appointed investment bank Robert W Baird & Co to initiate the potential sale.

Sources requesting anonymity on the grounds of confidentiality state that the sale will commence as early as January 2024.

It could value Tropical Smoothie Café at 20 times its estimated $100m 12-month annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

However, no deal can be guaranteed at this stage.

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Established in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Café offers a range of chocolate, vegetable and fruit smoothies, wraps, salads, sweets, healthy bowls, flatbreads and sandwiches.

The brand was acquired by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners in September 2020.

At the time of the acquisition, the US-based chain had 870 cafes.

Since then, Tropical Smoothie Café has opened more outlets and now operates 1,335 cafés across 44 states in the US, primarily through franchises.

In the third quarter of the fiscal year 2023, the Atlanta, Georgia-based chain reported positive same-store sales as it continued to expand its franchises.

Tropical Smoothie Café considered an initial public offering (IPO) in 2022, but the move was not executed after the IPO market became hostile, especially for the restaurant companies.

In June 2023 the DYNE Hospitality Group, a franchisee of Tropical Smoothie Café, announced the opening of a new location in Little Rock, Arkansas.