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Lou Malnati’s Nears Deal with Investment Firm Meritage – Crain’s Chicago Business

(Bloomberg) — Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, the Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza chain, has been sold to the private investment firm Meritage Group, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Meritage is buying the company from the chain’s owners, which include BDT Capital Partners, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. The company had an enterprise value of more than $500 million in the sale, one of the people said.

The Malnati family is retaining a stake in the company following the transaction, one of the people said. 

Bloomberg News reported in April that the company was exploring a sale and working with an adviser.  

Representatives for BDT, Lou Malnati’s and Meritage didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Meritage Group is a family-owned investment firm with $11 billion under management, according to a statement last year. Its founder Nat Simons is the son of Jim Simons, founder of quantitative hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. 

BDT Capital, the merchant banking arm of BDT & Co. founded by Chicago investment banker Byron Trott, has been an investor in the popular chain since 2016, a statement at the time showed.  

The Malnati family started the pizzeria, which specializes in deep-dish pizza, in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood in 1971. It has more than 70 locations across four states, its website showed.

The order of ingredients are placed differently in a Chicago-style pizza than a regular pie. The cheese is placed directly on the dough, followed by toppings and then tomato sauce.

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