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Warburg Pincus Boosts BlueGrace With Minority Investment


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BlueGrace Logistics has spent heavily on sports marketing, including at Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts, this one in 2014.

BlueGrace Logistics of Riverview, Florida, got a $255 million shot in the arm this week from private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which its founder says will provide “a major shot of adrenaline” to growth plans.

Bobby Harris founded the firm, a third-party provider of logistics management for the freight-shipping industry, in 2009, and by 2015 built it to No. 355 on the Franchise Times Top 200+ ranking of the largest U.S.-based franchises by worldwide sales. That year it had $66 million in global sales and 57 units, all but two franchised; it had fallen 67 spots from its FT rank the year before.

BlueGrace plans to use the Warburg Pincus minority investment for growth capital and acquisitions. BlueGrace is building out the remainder of its 55,000 square feet of headquarters space in Riverview and is scouting for more space across Tampa Bay. It expects to “significantly increase employment in Tampa, Chicago, Boston and other markets,” a press release said, presumably through corporate-owned locations. BlueGrace this year bought more than two dozen of its franchise locations across the country. It began franchise sales in 2011.

Warburg Pincus, headquartered in New York, has more than $40 billion in private equity assets under management. Its managing director, Alex Berzofsky, called BlueGrace in a statement “a rapidly growing innovator” in the technology-enabled logistics market.

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Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
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Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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