Group including Red Mango's parent closes on Friendly's acquisition

Amici Partners Group said it intends to keep all 130 surviving locations open.
Friendly's sold
Photograph: Shutterstock

An operator group that includes the parent company of Red Mango and Smoothie Factory has completed its acquisition of the Friendly’s Restaurant family dining chain.

The final price paid by Amici Partners Group was not disclosed. Earlier reports valued the purchase amount at just under $2 million, with the deal also calling for the assumption of $88 million in debt.

The buyers said they intend to keep all 130 surviving Friendly’s locations in operation. The chain filed for bankruptcy in November for the second time since 2011.

The purchase is the latest development in a rich and often contentious history for Friendly’s, one of the industry’s oldest chains. Founded during the Great Depression, it numbered 507 units as of 2009, according to Technomic, the research sister of Restaurant Business.

The brand generated systemwide sales in 2019 of $210 million, a decline of 15% from 2018.

The chain has passed through a variety of owners, from the founding Blake brothers to Hershey Corp., Don Smith’s Tennessee Restaurant Corp., and Sun Capital.

Brix Holdings, the parent of Red Mango and five other franchise chains, is a key member of Amici Partners, with its CEO also serving in the same capacity at the buying company. Other participants in the deal were not identified.

“The investors of Amici Partners Group, LLC have been involved with the Friendly’s Restaurant brand in many capacities over the years, not only as owners/operators and leaders in the system, but also as longtime loyal customers of this iconic brand,” Craig Erlich, CEO of Amici Partners and Brix, “Based on our personal connection to the chain, strong investment capabilities, and seasoned management team, we believe we will be able to continue to reinvigorate this much-loved brand for both loyal patrons and new customers alike.”

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