SPG Partners in frozen dessert deal

New York frozen dairy dessert retailer Tasti D-Lite has been acquired by buyout firm SPG, which sourced the deal from buyout legend Thomas H. Lee, who is also one of the deal’s co-investors.

New York-based private equity firm SPG Partners, and co-investors including the iconic private equity investor Thomas H. Lee, has acquired a majority stake in Tasti D-Lite. Via the newly formed Tasti D-Lite LLC, the popular frozen dairy dessert chain will be provided with funds for future growth. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

James Amos, one of SPG’s operating partners, will serve as Tasti D-Lite’s chief executive officer. His previous experience includes having served as chairman and chief executive officer of international franchise Mail Boxes, etc./The UPS Store. Amos was also a past chairman of the International Franchise Association.

The purchase of Tasti D-Lite – which has 34 stores in New York City and an additional 10 locations in various US states – marks SPG’s fourth deal since its 2005 founding by former Ripplewood partner Ian Snow.

“Here in New York, [Tasti D-Lite] is a real cult brand with a passionate following by its customer base,” said Snow. The firm has an aggressive plan to expand both within and outside of New York, he added.  

Its past deals entail investment in brownfield lender Continental Environmental Redevelopment Financial; acquisition of majority ownership in Excel Mining Systems, an Ohio-based maker of roof support products for coal mines; and a $109 million purchase of controlling interest in FibreVisions, a producer of non-woven fabrics and textiles.

SPG Partners is an alliance between Snow, Ogden Phipps, of the Phipps family group, and financial services firm Guggenheim Partners.

Thomas H. Lee founded Boston-based Thomas H. Lee Partners in 1974. The firm attained legendary status when it acquired alternative drink maker Snapple for $135 million in 1992, and two years later sold the company to Quaker Oats for $1.7 billion.

Lee broke his ties to the firm in March 2006, and five months later founded a new, New York-based private equity firm, Lee Equity Partners, which focuses primarily on the US growth equity market.