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BOCA RATON, FL-Private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners has acquired 319-unit Italian-restaurant chain Fazoli’s. The deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, marks the latest in a string of large retail acquisitions by locally based Sun Capital.

Fazoli’s, based in Lexington, KY, operates restaurants in 32 states, and just over half of its units are run by franchisees, while the remainder are company owned. The chain has closed some stores over the last few years, as it had more than 400 units in 2002, according to its website.

Sun Capital is now positioning Fazoli’s for growth, Matthew Garff, a principal at the equity firm, tells GSR. “The general goal is growth,” he says. “There is plenty of room for more Fazoli’s.” More specific plans for expansion will be determined once the new management team has time to assess the chain, Garff says.

Robert Weissmueller, a former McDonald’s executive has been put in place as Fazoli’s chief executive officer. He replaces the chain’s founder Kuni Toyoda.

Sun Capital is one of a handful of private equity firms that have been rapidly snapping up retail chains over the last few years. In September the firm acquired Marsh Supermarkets for $325 million. Earlier this year, Sun Capital acquired discounter ShopKo for $876 million. It also owns interests in Rag Shops and Mervyn’s.

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