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MTY Group to buy a casual-dining operator

The Canadian brand collector has agreed to buy a majority stake in a trio of casual-dining concepts in Ontario, including Turtle Jack’s.
papa murphy's
Photograph: Shutterstock

MTY Group, the Montreal-based restaurant brand collector, on Wednesday announced that it has agreed to buy a 70% interest in a trio of casual-dining concepts in Ontario.

The company said it would acquire a majority stake in Tortoise Restaurant Group, which include Turtle Jack’s Muskoka Grill, Coop Wicked Chicken and Frat’s Cucina.

The chains operate a total of 22 locations, 19 of which are Turtle Jack’s locations. They together generated more than $61 million in sales over the past 12 months. Turtle Jack’s is a franchise, while the other two are company-owned concepts in their “incubation period.”

“It is a rare occasion to have the opportunity to join forces with an established brand and two up-and-coming brands at the same time,” MTY CEO Eric Lefebvre said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close within the next 45 days, and Tortoise Restaurant Group’s existing owners, Jim and Clark Lishman, will remain with MTY.

It’s the fifth deal this year for MTY, a frequent buyer of brands that operates about 80 brands in Canada and the U.S. The company has announced or completed nine deals since the start of 2018, most of them acquisitions of small brands.

Its U.S. brands include Papa Murphy’s, Pinkberry, Sweetfrog, Blimpie and Baja Fresh.

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