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100-unit Cafe Rio changes hands

Private-equity firm KarpReilly has sold its controlling interest in the Cafe Rio fast-casual chain to another investment concern, Freeman Spogli & Co., for an undisclosed amount.

Management of Cafe Rio retains a stake in the operation and will remain with the chain under the new ownership, Freeman Spogli said in its announcement of the deal.

KarpReilly had owned the business for about 13 years. During that time, Cafe Rio grew from six branches to about 100 units in 11 states.

Freeman Spogli has also invested in City Barbeque and El Pollo Loco. In July, it sold a majority stake in the First Watch breakfast-and-lunch business to Advent International.

KarpReilly has holdings in a number of small restaurant chains, including Eureka, Burger Lounge, California Fish Grill, Sprinkles and Cafe Zupas. It previously was the majority owner of The Habit Burger Grill better-burger chain.

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