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Wetzel’s Pretzels Ownership Changes Hands

Private equity group CenterOak Partners new majority stakeholder

CenterOak Partners has acquired fresh-baked pretzel chain Wetzel’s Pretzels, operator of 305 soft pretzel stores. Bill Phelps will continue as CEO of the Pasadena, Calif.-based chain; Rick Wetzel, who founded the brand with Phelps, will serve on the board of directors.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but former investors Levine Leichtman Capital Partners reportedly secured seven times its original 2007 investment.

CenterOak Partners, a private equity firm based in Dallas, primarily focuses on middle-market company investments.