Falconhead Capital LLC says it has taken a controlling stake in Rita's Water Ice Franchise Co. LLC, whose Italian ice treats are sold in 18 states.
The private equity firm did not disclose Thursday how much it paid for the stake from an investment group led by Jim Rudolph. Rudolph kept a minority position in the company, which is based in suburban Philadelphia.
Falconhead operating partner Thomas Christopoul has been named chairman and interim chief executive of Rita's until a new CEO is found.
Rita's was founded in 1984 by Bob Tumolo, a former Philadelphia firefighter. Tumolo, along with his mother and brother, made and sold Italian ice from their porch window. Since then, Rita's has grown to 550 franchises.