Burger King® Company to Acquire Carrols Restaurant Group
Burger King to remodel acquired restaurants over the next 5 years, accelerating Burger King’s path to modern image
Toronto – Restaurant Brands International Inc. (“RBI” or the “Company”) (TSX: QSR) (NYSE: QSR) (TSX: QSP) and Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Carrols”) (NASDAQ: TAST) has announced that they have reached an agreement for RBI to acquire all of Carrols issued and outstanding shares that are not already held by RBI or its affiliates for $9.55 per share in an all cash transaction, or an aggregate total enterprise value of approximately $1.0 billion, representing a 23.1% premium to Carrols 30-day volume-weighted average price as of January 12, 2024 and a 13.4% premium to the January 12, 2024 closing price.
Carrols is the largest Burger King® franchisee in the United States, operating 1,022 Burger King restaurants in 23 states that generated approximately $1.8 billion of system sales during the twelve-months ended September 30, 2023. Carrols also owns and operates 60 Popeyes® restaurants in six states.
Tom Curtis, President of Burger King U.S. and Canada commented, “Carrols has demonstrated strong and improving restaurant operations over the years. This acquisition is an exciting accelerator to our Reclaim the Flame plan that is focused on relentlessly pursuing a better experience for our Guests. We are going to rapidly remodel these restaurants over the next five years or so and put them back into the hands of motivated, local franchisees to create amazing experiences for our Guests.”
Deborah Derby, President and CEO of Carrols said, “Today’s announcement is a testament to our more than 24,000 Carrols team members who have helped drive the company to record levels of profitability over the past 12 months. These results have allowed us, through this transaction, to deliver immediate and certain value to Carrols shareholders at an attractive premium to the Company’s current and historical share prices. Additionally, we believe our team members will now have additional opportunities as part of the greater RBI family – in our office, in the field and especially in our restaurants, including for long-time managers who may want to become franchisees themselves. We look forward to working closely with Tom and the rest of the Burger King team in the months and years ahead.”
Josh Kobza, CEO of RBI added, “This is a terrific example of our commitment to put our capital to work to accelerate growth and support Tom and his team in their broader efforts to have a more competitive Burger King restaurant base. The strategic merits of this acquisition are very compelling and consistent with our objective to invest our capital in long-term, high-return opportunities.”
Strategic Rationale and Future Plans for Portfolio
The transaction is part of Burger King’s Reclaim the Flame plan to accelerate sales growth and drive franchisee profitability. The transaction follows the brand’s initial $400 million investment announced in September 2022 to drive high quality remodels, improve operations, enhance marketing and support ongoing technology and digital priorities.
Burger King expects to significantly accelerate Carrols’ current rate of remodels to bring the acquired portfolio to modern image over the next five years. To accomplish this, the team plans to invest approximately $500 million of capital, funded by Carrols’ operating cash flow, to remodel approximately 600 acquired restaurants that are not currently considered modern image.
Carrols has a team of strong, experienced operators who, in partnership with Burger King’s operations teams, will operate the acquired restaurants. Burger King ultimately plans to refranchise the vast majority of the portfolio to new or existing smaller franchise operators who live in their local communities. Following refranchising the acquired restaurants, which we expect will be completed in five to seven years, Burger King will maintain a company restaurant portfolio of a couple of hundred restaurants for strategic innovation, training, and operator development purposes.
RBI expects the transaction to be approximately neutral to Adjusted Earnings per Share. Net leverage giving effect to the transaction will increase minimally and the Company will remain on track to reach its previously stated net leverage target of mid-four times by the end of 2024.
Affiliates of Cambridge Franchise Holdings, LLC, who in aggregate own or control approximately 17% of outstanding Carrols shares and approximately 20% of outstanding Carrols shares held by stockholders unaffiliated with RBI, have entered into a voting agreement pursuant to which they have agreed, among other things, to vote their shares of common stock of Carrols in favor of the transaction.
J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as legal advisors to RBI. Jefferies LLC acted as financial advisor and Milbank LLP acted as legal advisor to the Special Committee of the Carrols Board of Directors.
About Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc.
Carrols is one of the largest restaurant franchisees in North America. It is the largest Burger King® franchisee in the United States, currently operating 1,022 Burger King® restaurants in 23 states as well as 60 Popeyes® restaurants in six states. Carrols has operated Burger King® restaurants since 1976 and Popeyes® restaurants since 2019. For more information, visit the Company’s website at www.carrols.com.
About Burger King®
Founded in 1954, the Burger King® brand is the second largest fast food hamburger chain in the world. The original Home of the Whopper®, the Burger King® system operates more than 19,000 locations in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories. Almost 100 percent of Burger King® restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees, many of them family-owned operations that have been in business for decades. To learn more about the Burger King® brand, visit the Burger King® brand website at www.bk.com or follow us on Facebook, X and Instagram.
About Restaurant Brands International Inc.
Restaurant Brands International Inc. is one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant companies with over $40 billion in annual system-wide sales and over 30,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. RBI owns four of the world’s most prominent and iconic quick service restaurant brands – Tim Hortons®, Burger King®, Popeyes®, and Firehouse Subs®. These independently operated brands have been serving their respective guests, franchisees and communities for decades. Through its Restaurant Brands for Good framework, RBI is improving sustainable outcomes related to its food, the planet, and people and communities. To learn more about RBI, visit the company’s website at www.rbi.com.
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