Private equity group Bridgepoint to buy UK Burger King franchise

Posted 20/11/2017 : By: Debbie Dennis

Private equity group Bridgepoint has agreed a deal to take control of the Burger King brand in the UK, pledging to ramp up its expansion and “reinvigorate” its operations in the country. Bridgepoint will control the newly-formed Burger King UK, which be the master franchisee for the UK, giving it control over the Burger King brand and the right to roll out new stores.

Restaurant Brands International – the Canadian company that also owns chains such as Tim Hortons and Popeyes – will maintain a minority stake in the business through its Switzerland-based Burger King Europe affiliate.

Bridgepoint will also purchase Caspian UK Group, which is one of the largest local franchisees with 74 outlets. The terms of the transactions were not disclosed, but a person familiar with the investment said Bridgepoint had agreed to pay more than £50m.Bridgepoint is looking to boost the number of Burger King stores in the UK, which has been under-invested in compared to other European countries, according to someone familiar with the invetment rationale. It will look to acquire more franchises over time and use the current acquisition as a platform to grow, they said.

“This is quite a resilient market, the UK eating out market is continuing to grow and it is a major trend in terms of convenience and value,” the person added.

Burger King already has more than 500 restaurants in the UK, but trails behind rivals KFC – which has more than 800 – and McDonald’s, with more than 1,200. The new business will be chaired by industry veteran Martin Robinson, the chairman of Bella Italia owner Casual Dining Group and former chair of Wagamama.

Mr Robinson said: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.

José Cil, president of the Burger King brand, said:

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. 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.