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Orion Food Systems Acquired

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Orion Food Systems Inc., whose quick-service restaurant brands include Hot Stuff Pizza, Mean Gene's Burgers and Smash Hit Subs, was acquired yesterday by Kohlberg & Company, LLC, a leading merchant banking company, and Orion's senior management.

The deal for the restaurant company's 2,100 fast-food units, many of which are located in convenience stores, is valued at $100 million.

"In the last 15 years, we have grown to franchise outlets in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the Middle East," said Orion's Executive Vice President Mark Elliott. "Before it became such a popular trend, Orion created a unique niche by partnering with convenience stores committed to raising the visibility and credibility of their foodservice."

The company's base over the years has gradually expanded throughout nontraditional channels to include college campuses, military installations and airports.

Fifteen years ago Schwan's gave Jeff Okerlund, Orion's president, the nod to start a new pizza concept, which evolved into Orion Food Systems and has operated as an independent company under the Schwan's umbrella until the acquisition.

"Schwan's has been a great parent to Orion, and we are thankful for all their help and resources that have allowed Orion to become the company it is today," Okerlund said.
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