La Madeleine owner purchases Bruegger's

Rennes, France-based Le Duff group, owner and operator of 820 outlets including the Del Arte and Brioche Doree chains, has purchased the Burlington, Vt.-based Bruegger's bagel chain from Sun Capital Partners Inc.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Jim Greco is expected to remain as Bruegger's CEO.

With this acquisition, Le Duff becomes the second largest company in the café-bakery sector in the world, with sales of more than $1.53 billion, more than 1,100 restaurants and bakeries, and approximately 13,400 employees. It plans to open 70 additional Bruegger's locations this year. Panera Bread continues to lead the segment with 1,450 restaurants throughout the U.S.

Le Duff has had a U.S. presence since 1987 with its La Madeleine brand, which has 60 units domestically.

According to a news report, Le Duff plans to "Francify" some Bruegger's locations and will turn others into Brioche Doree outlets. Le Duff also has plans to open its first two Chinese Brioche Dorees restaurants later this year.

Bruegger's operations will be managed by Le Duff America Inc., the North American subsidiary of Groupe Le Duff SA.

“We are thrilled to partner with a company that shares our passion for hospitality and great food,” said Claude Bergeron, CEO of Le Duff America Inc. “The addition of Bruegger’s to our North American operations combined with our other brands, La Madeleine, Brioche Dorée and Bridor, reinforces our position in the café-bakery segment and is aligned with our multi brand strategy.”

Piper Jaffray & Co. and North Point Advisors LLC acted as financial advisors to the sellers in connection with the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisor to the sellers in connection with the transaction.

Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melancon, a Montreal based law firm, and K&L Gates LLP, a Dallas based law firm, acted as legal advisors for the buyer, Le Duff America Inc.

“We are very excited to join the Groupe Le Duff family of café and bakery restaurants,” Greco said. “They are an ideal partner, and our combined expertise will help enhance Bruegger’s stable of brands and expand our concepts across North America through both company-owned and franchised bakery cafés.”

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