Private Equity Firm Acquires Kilwins

The dessert brand joins a portfolio that also includes Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash.

Los Angeles-based Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, which includes Tropical Smoothie Cafe in its portfolio, has acquired Kilwin’s Quality Confections and Kilwins Chocolates Franchise, a franchisor, retailer, manufacturer and distributor of premium quality chocolate, ice cream and confectionary products. Robin and Don McCarty, the majority owners of Kilwins since 1995, will retain an ownership interest. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1947 and headquartered in Petoskey, Mich., Kilwins operates more than 150 locations across 25 states, the majority of which are franchised operations.

“Kilwins has an incredible brand proposition, a compelling product portfolio and a loyal customer base,” says Andrew Schwartz, a partner at LLCP, in the announcement. “We are strong believers in the long-term potential of Kilwins and are excited to work closely with the company’s management team to accelerate growth through continued franchise expansion, new channel opportunities and additional product innovation.”

LLCP is a private equity investor in the franchising and multiunit sector, having invested in more than 25 brands through its history. Along with Tropical Smoothie Cafe, these brands include Nothing Bundt Cakes, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Wetzel’s Pretzels and Global Franchise Group.




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