Master franchise for Burger King UK falls into private equity hands

Burger King restaurant

Private equity group Bridgepoint has struck a deal to take control of the Burger King brand in the UK in a bid to inject the brand with a new lease of life.

The firm, which also owns international coffee chain Pret a Manger in the UK, confirmed it has reached an agreement with Burger King Europe GmbH to become the UK master franchisee of the burger chain with exclusive rights to the brand in the UK.

The firm will simultaneously acquire Caspian UK Group, one of the UK’s largest Burger King franchisees with 74 restaurants.

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The transaction will see the establishment of a new Burger King UK entity which will be controlled by Bridgepoint, with BKE retaining a minority stake. The new entity will enter into a 20-year master franchise agreement giving it the right to be the custodian of the Burger King brand in the UK, control over the brand’s proposition in the UK and the right to roll-out new stores across the country.

The transaction will also see Bridgepoint support a highly experienced management buy-in team, headed by chairman-designate Martin Robinson, who has previously worked with the Casual Dining Group, where he is also chairman.

“We are thrilled to announce this agreement to increase the pace of growth for the Burger King brand in the UK, one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant markets,” said José Cil, president of the Burger King brand.

“The Bridgepoint team has extensive experience in the UK market and a strong track record investing in and developing leading brands in the quick-service restaurant industry, which positions them well for success.”

Robinson added: “Burger King is an iconic global brand with a long-standing heritage in the quick service restaurant market. Working with Bridgepoint and BKE, the team believes it can deliver growth and further opportunities for the brand to flourish in the UK market.”

In a statement, Bridgepoint described Burger King as having a “robust and growing presence” in the UK market. “This is an opportunity to work with a highly-regarded management buy-in team to re-invigorate a much-loved brand and to grow the existing UK business,” the company said.

Burger King is the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the world and currently has over 500 restaurants operating within the UK.

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