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Playa Bowls' owners explore sale of restaurant chain, sources say

By Abigail Summerville

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The private equity owners of Playa Bowls are exploring options including a potential sale of the acai bowl chain that could value it at more than $300 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

New Jersey-based Playa, which is owned by Tamarix Equity Partners and Pacific General Holdings, is working with boutique advisory firm North Point to gauge interest from potential buyers that could include other private equity firms, the sources said, requesting anonymity as the matter is confidential.

The restaurant chain was launched in 2014 when Jersey Shore natives and surfers Robert Giuliani and Abby Taylor opened the first Playa Bowls location in Belmar, New Jersey. In 2021, Tamarix Equity and Pacific General acquired Playa, which is known for its acai bowls, for an undisclosed amount.

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Playa, whose locations are mostly operated by franchise partners, currently has more than 200 locations in 22 states and plans to increase its footprint to 300 locations by 2025.

Playa could fetch a valuation equivalent to 20 times its 12-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of over $15 million, the sources said.

Pacific General declined to comment. North Point, Tamarix and Playa Bowls did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Private equity firms are typically attracted to franchise-operated chains because of the steady royalty fees generated by such businesses.

Last week, Blackstone agreed to acquire Tropical Smoothie Cafe - another franchise-operated restaurant chain - from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners for about $1.7 billion, sources said.

(Reporting by Abigail Summerville in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)