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

Burger King restaurant

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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