Burger King is being turned over to Brazilians and becoming a private company. The New York Times first reported on the sale of the global fast food giant to the investment firm 3G Capital, which is based in New York but funded by Brazilians. Several news outlets are now reporting that the deal will be finalized today, pending any last minute problems. Brazil is a rapidly developing “BRIC” country, and not the first to purchase an American company–although few acquisitions have cut as close to Main St. as this one.
It turns out there is a precedent: 3G previously had a 6.7 percent stake in Wendy’s, and 3G’s principals (a trio of wealthy Brazilians) are also largely responsible for the merger of InBev and Anheuser-Busch. The buyout is viewed by Burger King as a “turnaround opportunity, one that draws upon the operational expertise gained in its beer and retail investments.”
Burger King has more than 12,000 restaurants around the globe, but the economic downturn has hurt sales in the U.S. and Canada this year. The chain last changed hands in 2002, when TPG, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Bain Capital bought the King from the U.K. spirits behemoth Diageo. Since then, the chain has pursued an aggressive strategy of expansion into international markets including China, Russia, and Latin America. And the Brazilians are not Whopper virgins: There are already 93 restaurants in the country.
And 3G, should it succeed in acquiring Burger King, would continue the chain’s international build out. America’s fast food takes over the world yet again, through burgers and beer.