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Gatti’s acquired by PE firm with ambitions

The venerable Gatti’s Pizza chain has been acquired by Sovrano LLC, a Fort Worth, Texas-based private-equity firm led by restaurant veteran Michael Poates. The purchase price of the 100-unit chain was not disclosed.

Poates has taken the president’s post at Austin, Texas-based Gatti’s while continuing to hold that title at Sovrano.  He brings to the job about 28 years of experience with such chains as Dairy Queen, Papa John’s and Whataburger, Sovrano said.

An announcement of the deal indicates that Sovrano intends to jumpstart growth of Gatti’s, formerly known as Mr. Gatti’s, through both corporate development and franchising. The statement indicates that management is already engaged in discussions with new franchisees.

Blue Sage Capital had acquired the chain in 2004 for $24 million.

Gatti’s, founded in 1969, is one of Texas’ oldest pizza chains.  A longtime rival, Pizza Inn, has found new life through the development of a fast-casual complement called Pie Five. 

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