(Reuters) - Giordano's, the Chicago-based restaurant chain famous for the city's stuffed deep-dish pizza, is exploring selling itself, according to people familiar with the matter.
Victory Park Capital Advisors LLC, the private equity firm that bought Giordano's out of bankruptcy in 2011, has hired investment bank Piper Jaffray Companies (PJC.N) to run a sale process for the company, the people said this week.
Giordano's could fetch more than $100 million in a sale, the people added, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
Victory Park Capital Advisors declined to comment, while Giordano's and Piper Jaffray did not respond to requests for comment.
The first Giordano's restaurant opened in 1974, when Italian immigrants Efren and Joseph Boglio opened a pizzeria that served their mother's recipe for stuffed pizza. "Mama Giordano" was famous for her "Italian Easter Pie," a double-crusted, cheese pizza.
John Apostolou, a former Giordano's cook, bought the pizzeria from its founder in 1988. Under Apostolou's ownership, the restaurant filed for bankruptcy in 2011, blaming debt it took on for real estate investments.
Victory Park Capital Advisors acquired the chain for roughly $52 million in a bankruptcy sale. The private equity firm worked with Apostolou's sons, Bill and George Apostolou, as part of the buyout.
Under its most recent owners, the chain has expanded beyond its home turf in Chicago, into Indiana and Minnesota. It has around 50 restaurants, and is also in Florida.
(Reporting by Lauren Hirsch in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)