Cadigan Investment Hits Sweet Spot –

Apparently investors like their sweets. Proving the theory true, European strategic investor Lapointe Rosenstein and Cadigan Investment Partners, formally known as Knightsbridge Holdings, led a deal to acquire la Madeleine Inc., a chain of 62 French bakeries for approximately $60 million.

Bank of America is providing approximately $30 million in debt financing.

The purchase includes all of la Madeleine’s bakeries in eight markets across the U.S. The acquisition allows the Dallas-based bakery to recapitalize its balance sheet and proceed with expansion plans in existing markets across the country. “This is a very unique brand in the restaurant industry with no equal. But the chain has been stagnant with 62 stores for more than two years, [so] we are looking to double that number,” said Pericles Navab, president of Cadigan. “The investment also makes sense now because the average check is below $10. This is not an item that people focus on to cut out of their budgets.”

He added that Cadigan hoped to better the company’s efficiency and cost levels.

The firm bought la Madeleine from Greenwich, Conn.-based Catterton Partners and Minneapolis, Minn.-based Oak Venture Partners.

No changes are anticipated regarding the company’s name or logo as a result of the transaction. However, Navab did say there are plans to change la Madeleine’s current board by adding a new group of directors with experience in the restaurant, food manufacturing and bakery/cafe business. Changes include the appointment of Jean-Roch Vachon as chairman of the board of directors and the departure of la Madeleine’s Chief Executive John Corcoran. La Madeleine president, Mark Menking will stay in his current role.

Started in Dallas in 1983, the chain’s founder, Patrick Esquerre, sold out in 1997 to Viking Capital, Didot-Bottin, Catterton Partners and Oak Venture Partners.