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Investment fund buys a 73-unit Taco Bell franchisee

Bessemer Investment Partners acquired Houston-based operator KorMex Foods.
Photograph courtesy of Taco Bell

Bessemer Investment Partners, a New York-based equity firm, this week announced that it has acquired 73 Taco Bell locations in the Houston area from the owners of KorMex Foods.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Bessemer acquired the locations through a newly formed subsidiary, Mas Restaurant Group, or MRG.

The deal, which includes two units co-branded with KFC and six co-branded with Pizza Hut Express locations, will provide the company with capital to add new units and make acquisitions.

The original KorMex management team, including CEO Chad Motsinger and CFO Ben Walsh, will retain a minority stake in the company.

“Over the past 18 years, we have built a successful company serving both our customers and employees in the Houston community,” Motsinger said in a statement. “Our partnership with [Bessemer] will allow us to continue that success as well as create a platform for new growth opportunities.”

Private-equity groups and other investment funds, including family offices, have been targeting large-scale franchisee operators for years. Such companies generate a lot of cash and are often seen as relatively safe investments.

This is especially true for Taco Bell, the country’s largest Mexican fast-food chain, which operates 7,000 locations worldwide, most of them in the U.S. Taco Bell has been among the most popular targets for franchisee investors.

“We see MRG as a platform with tremendous potential for expansion within the Taco Bell system,” Andrew Mendelsohn, principal with Bessemer Investment Partners, said in a statement.

Bessemer Investment Partners takes a long-term approach in its investing. It is owned by the Phipps family, which traces its holdings to a partnership between Henry Phipps and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, with the sale of Carnegie Steel in 2001.

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