Sopra Capital Acquires HouseMaster(R) Home Inspections

SALT LAKE CITY & BOUND BROOK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sopra Capital announced today its acquisition of HouseMaster, the oldest home inspection organization in the United States and Canada. Sopra Capital, LLC is a private equity and management firm focused on the acquisition and development of established franchise brands that are poised for growth. HouseMaster currently has over 395 franchised territories throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Founded in 1979 by Kenneth T. Austin, HouseMaster was the first home inspection franchise operation in the United States. Within a few years, HouseMaster expanded to 12 states. By 1993, there were 175 U.S. offices, and the company opened its first international office in the Winnipeg, Manitoba Province, of Canada. Since 2002, when HouseMaster's current President Kathleen Austin Kuhn assumed control of the company, HouseMaster has grown to over 395 franchises located throughout North America.

"This is an exciting time for HouseMaster," said Kuhn. "Our partnership with Sopra Capital will take HouseMaster to the next level. Sopra's management team has the resources, franchising knowledge, and experience in growing franchise businesses to maximize the performance of existing HouseMaster franchisees while expanding the company into new and untapped markets. Given these new resources, the opportunities for the company and our franchisees truly are limitless."

Formerly operating under HMA Franchise Systems, Inc., HouseMaster will now operate under the DBR Franchising, LLC name. Kuhn will remain as President of the company with Bernie Brozek, Operating Partner of Sopra Capital, assuming the role of CEO of DBR Franchising and HouseMaster.

"We believe that the timing for this partnership is ideal, and that HouseMaster represents exactly the type of franchise operation that can excel in current market conditions," said Brozek. "We've evaluated HouseMaster closely and believe that this franchise is positioned for great success and our involvement in the company will make that success a reality."

Brozek has over 20 years' experience in the franchising industry beginning with a post at PepsiCo where he ultimately oversaw the growth of Pizza Hut Express from 400 units to 2200 units. He was also the Chief Operating Officer of Laundromax and VP of Development for Noble Roman's International Division. Brozek then became COO of Sport Clips in Austin, TX where he grew the business from 50 units to over 700 sold licenses. Most recently, he was recruited by Home Depot as the COO of their new service franchise, N-Hance. Brozek left N-Hance to join Sopra Capital as an Operating Partner focused on building Sopra's portfolio companies.

Sopra Capital will staff HouseMaster's support team with several key executives who have demonstrated track records of building strong brands by way of aggressive recruitment of quality franchisees, increasing unit profitability and cultivating successful franchisee relationships. "HouseMaster's new executive team has produced over 4,000 franchises sold in their career," comments David Leoncavallo of Sopra Capital.

"We remain, as ever, committed to augmenting the value and integrity of the HouseMaster brand and are thrilled that Sopra Capital recognizes the potential that our franchise network has to offer," said Kuhn. Echoing this sentiment, Leoncavallo states, "I have worked with over 300 franchisors over the last 10 years and the team we now have in place at HouseMaster is one of the strongest management teams I have seen in the franchise industry. Their focus is on results."

HouseMaster will celebrate its 30th year in the home inspection business in 2009.

More information on HouseMaster and Sopra Capital can be found at the companies' respective Web sites at www.HouseMaster.com and www.sopracapital.com.

About HouseMaster

Headquartered in Bound Brook, N.J., HouseMaster is the oldest and one of the largest home inspection franchisors in North America. With more than 395 franchised areas throughout the U.S. and Canada, HouseMaster remains the premier name in home inspections. For 29 years, HouseMaster has built upon a foundation of solid leadership and innovation with a continued focus on delivering the highest quality service experience to their customers and providing HouseMaster franchisees with the tools and support necessary to do so.

About Sopra Capital

Sopra Capital, based in Salt Lake City, UT provides capital and management services to companies in the franchise industry. Sopra works with profitable franchise companies which have a proven system and an operational platform to support extensive growth.

The Sopra Team brings over 40 years of franchise background to their companies and is experienced in managing and growing both small and large franchise companies. As company executives, they have built several franchise organizations adding thousands of units to these companies while consistently increasing franchisee revenues by over twenty-five percent and increasing franchisee approval ratings to over ninety percent. The team has also worked with over 300 franchise organizations to staff franchise systems with industry leaders.

For more information about Sopra Capital, please visit www.sopracapital.com or contact Brian Charlesworth at (801) 335-4586.

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