Private equity firm Ares Management Group confirmed July 23 that it had made an investment in Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants. In the deal, Ares bought a minority stake from Connecticut-based KarpReilly, who has held a minority position since 2009.
“We thoroughly enjoyed our nine-year partnership with Tim McEnery and the Cooper’s Hawk management team and are delighted that they found the right partner in Ares to support the company in the years ahead,” Allan Karp, co-founder of KarpReilly, said in a release.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the investment will help the Illinois-based company as it enters its next phase of expansion. The company, which has more than 35 restaurants in 10 states, plans on opening at least five more units and wine tasting rooms by the end of 2019, the Los Angeles Business Journal reported. Its wine club has an estimated 400,000 members and continues to grow.
Ares is confident in Cooper’s Hawk founder and chief executive officer Tim McEnery, who will retain his ownership stake and his leadership position.
“[McEnery’s] vision has resulted in an incredibly passionate consumer following, driving industry-leading growth and unit economics,” co-founder of Ares Management Group and Global co-head of the Private Equity Group David Kaplan said. “Our investment in Cooper’s Hawk follows Ares’ strategy of supporting best-in-class growth businnesses. We are thrilled to partner with Tim and the rest of the management team as they continue to lead Cooper’s Hawk through its next phase of growth.”
“We are excited to find in Ares a partner that appreciates the uniqueness of Cooper’s Hawk, and its community of employees and wine club members,” McEnery added in a statement. “With the significant resources across the Ares platform, we believe together we can accelerate our growth trajectory, while maintaining our relentless focus on delivering a tremendous experience and value proposition to our wine club members and guests.”
BofA Merrill Lynch represented Ares in the deal while North Point Advisors served as financial adviser for Cooper's Hawk.