Burger King ‘looking for backers to buy out UK franchisees’

Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the company that owns Burger King, has reportedly opened talks with possible backers about a deal to consolidate the fast food chain’s UK franchises.

According to Sky News, RBI has approached private equity firms about investing in the UK operations in a bid to “eke out” cost-savings in an increasingly competitive market.

One of the backers it is said to be in discussions with is Bridgepoint, the company that owns Pret A Manger.

The talks are said to be “preliminary” and may not lead to an agreement, insiders told the broadcaster.

Sources said that RBI had contacted several private equity groups about a deal that would see it become the master franchisee of the world’s second largest burger chain’s operations in the UK.

It hopes to persuade a private equity investors to inject tens of millions of pounds into a war-chest to be used for buying out individual franchisees.

Burger King has adopted a similar strategy in South Korea and other international markets since the chain was acquired by 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm,‎ in 2010.

The majority of Burger King’s 700-plus UK restaurants are franchises, with several dozen owned by the parent company, the report said.

It claimed the move was a reaction to increased competition from more upmarket competitors such as GBK and Byron.

Burger King has not commented on the speculation.

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