Brazil-based International Meal Co., a franchisee of the Margaritaville casual-dining brand, is buying the 10-unit Margaritaville and two-unit LandShark Bar and Grill chains from Orlando, Fla.-based Margaritaville Enterprises.

Sao Paulo-based International Meal Co. Holdings S.A. owns and operates Margaritaville franchise units in the Puerto Rico and Panama airports and has worked with Margaritaville since 2010. IMC also owns 386 casual and quick-service restaurants in Brazil, the Caribbean and Mexico, emphasizing units in airports, shopping malls and along major highways.

Musician Jimmy Buffett, who initially developed the company around his song “Margaritaville,” said in a statement that his relationship with IMC chief executive Javier Gavilan and chairman Juan Carlos Torres over the past several years set the stage for the deal.

“I only see good things for our friends, our employees and, most of all, our customers happening as a result of this arrangement,” he said. “To paraphrase a song I am a little familiar with, we are taking our attitudes to new latitudes.”

IMC is purchasing the domestic restaurant assets of Margaritaville, including a notable location in the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, and officials from IMC were not available for an interview by press time.

The company said in a statement that it planned to add new locations later this year in the Brazilian cities of Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Viracopos.

“As part of this strategic alliance, IMC will have exclusive rights to develop and own Margaritaville venues in the United States and Latin America,” the company statement said.

“This strategic alliance is about growing a powerful brand, in segments where we have a lot of experience and a proven track record,” Gavilan said in remarks. “Airports will be our first priority to develop this great brand, and we have already found some very exciting opportunities.”

IMC’s flagship brands in Brazil are Frango Assado and Viena. Since 2006, IMC has worked with Advent International, a private-equity firm with more than $24 billion in cumulative capital, to fund its expansion, the company said.

Margaritaville Enterprises, which also includes retail shops, consumer products, casinos, resorts and a SiriusXM radio station, was founded with its first restaurant in Key West, Fla., in 1987. It has Margaritaville units in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. Its LandShark units are in Atlantic City, N.J., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

New Margaritaville locations will open this summer in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Margaritaville Hotels and/or Casinos are located in: Biloxi, Miss.; Bossier City, La.; Las Vegas; and Pensacola Beach, Fla.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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