Rita’s Chain Sold for Third Time Since 2004

Wayne-based Argosy Private Equity and a New York firm announced plans to buy a controlling stake in the water ice company.

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Popular water ice and custard chain Rita’s will once again be under new ownership. Argosy Private Equity, of Wayne, and New York’s MTN Capital on Tuesday announced plans to buy a controlling stake in Rita’s Franchise Company LLC.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Jeff Moody will remain president and CEO of the Trevose-based company.

And as the Inquirer points out, the deals builds on Rita’s growing history of acquisitions — the third time since 2004 that Rita’s has been purchased by private investors.

Falconhead Capital acquired the company in 2011 from an investment group led by Jim Rudolph, who had bought the company in 2004. Rudolph had hoped to expand Rita’s to 1,000 locations, but the company claimed the recession slowed the plans, the Inquirer reports. Falconhead managed to expand the chain out West to California and even internationally in the last five years. In 2015, it announced plans to expand to gas stations and convenience stores.

Today Rita’s boasts more than 600 locations in 30 states and four countries, including the Philippines, China, and Canada.

Argosy Private Equity and MTN Capital haven’t divulged specific plans involving the acquisition but made it clear in a statement that they plan to build on Falconhead’s work. Kirk Griswold, a founding partner at Argosy Private Equity who will join Rita’s board as chairman, praised Falconhead for expanding Rita’s nationally and internationally.

Though Rita’s is no longer just a regional brand, the company still touts its Philly origins. Former Philadelphia firefighter Bob Tumolo founded the company in 1984 after selling Italian ice from his home’s porch window.

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