Market Overview

Meriwether Group and Cascadia Capital Guide Purchase of Laughing Planet by Company's Chief Operating Officer


Meriwether Group, a business acceleration firm and trusted consumer brand advisor, in partnership with Cascadia Capital, a diversified, boutique investment bank, today announced new local, independent ownership of Portland, Ore.-based Laughing Planet Café in its sale of the company by Founder Richard Satnick to a group led by Chief Executive Officer Franz Spielvogel. With a career highlighted by extensive experience in outdoor recreation and healthy living, Spielvogel has a track record of building successful brands centered on these markets. This deal represents an emphasis among Portland's most iconic brands on retaining local control and ownership, and driving growth in the Pacific Northwest economy from a local perspective. The transaction takes effect by the end of this month, and financial details were not disclosed.

“For me, Laughing Planet is all about bringing Oregon fresh affordable food with tons of flavor. Having worked alongside Richard for many years, it's something I'm passionate about and eager to cultivate and grow,” said Spielvogel. “I'm completely in and ready to carry on Richard's legacy with the same level of enthusiasm that launched the company 17 years ago.”

Originally founded in Bloomington, Ind., in 1995, Satnick relocated Laughing Planet Café to Portland in 2000. Over the past 12 years, the company has expanded to 10 locations in Portland, Eugene and Corvallis, and carved a niche for itself by serving health-conscious, locally sourced cuisine. The sale of Laughing Planet opens up new growth opportunities for the brand and enables Satnick to pursue new ventures, including his recently opened Dick's Kitchen restaurants. All of Laughing Planet's employees will remain with the company.

“Through careful structure of the sale that considered and clearly articulated both the financial goals and the quirky culture of the company, we were able to ensure ongoing local ownership of Laughing Planet as well as the continuation of the company's core values shaped over more than a decade,” said Bill Nootenboom, Partner at Meriwether Group. “Laughing Planet has set an example of the kind of success that comes from taking a conscientious approach to business. Maintaining the brand's commitment to thoughtfully prepared, sustainably sourced food was critical to Richard and has been key to making Laughing Planet an iconic Portland brand. It feels right to transition brand stewardship to a longtime employee.”

“Portland is a hot-bed of innovative consumer brands that are helping shape market demand across several categories,” said Bryan Jaffe, Managing Director of Cascadia Capital's Middle Market practice. “Traditionally, many of these companies have been acquired by out-of-state strategic buyers, resulting in transactions that often uproot the brand from the region. The sale of Laughing Planet to its CEO is an example of a successful liquidity event that maintains local jobs, allows for stronger regional growth and preserves the local identity of the company.”

About Meriwether Group

Meriwether Group, Inc. is a trusted advisor and business acceleration firm headed by seasoned senior executives with decades of operational experience with some of the world's most iconic brands, including Nike and Adidas, who are also entrepreneurs and founders as well. Meriwether has the unique capability of efficiently accelerating strategy and outcomes for extension, licensing, distribution, and mergers and acquisitions in a brand-centric and relevant way. Meriwether knows that the heart and soul of any business is the founder's vision. The mission of Meriwether Group is to look through the eyes of the founder(s) and guide them to manifest the brand's destiny. Meriwether partners with clients to define the optimal strategy for progressive growth through brand management, market research, competitive landscape analysis, brand and business valuation and acquisition strategy. For more information, visit

About Cascadia Capital, LLC

Cascadia Capital is a diversified, boutique investment bank serving both private and public growth companies around the globe. Cascadia's business is diversified in terms of the industries the firm covers – Information Technology, Sustainable Industries and Middle Market – and in terms of the range of advisory services it provides – Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Financing and Strategic Advising. This diversification provides the firm with stability amidst market fluctuations. Cascadia is a pure advisory firm and, unlike other investment banks, is not conflicted by trading, lending, research or cross selling business. For more than a decade, the firm has delivered the best outcomes for clients based on its transaction experience, domain expertise and commitment to building long-term relationships. Cascadia always acts in the long-term interests of clients and honors its position as a trusted advisor. For more information, visit

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