Buyout firm denies its in talks about acquisition of Burger King
A private equity firm denied it's in talks to acquire Burger King Holdings Inc., after a published report linked 3i Group PLC to the fast-food chain.
The Wall Street Journal, citing sources it did not name, said talks regarding a possible sale have taken place over recent weeks. But the status of any talks remains unclear.
Burger King shares rose $1.39, or 8.5 percent, to $17.84 in morning trading Wednesday.
The newspaper said the British private-equity firm was among the interested parties, but a spokeswoman from that group told The Associated Press that no such talks were under way between the two.
"I am happy to confirm that we are not in discussions with Burger King," said spokeswoman Kathryn van der Kroft, adding that Burger King's size falls outside the firm's interests.
A spokesman from Burger King declined to comment on the report.
In a research note, R.W. Baird analyst David E. Tarantino told investors that he was boosting his price target on the stock, expecting it to climb 15.5 percent in the next year. He'd previously expected a 9.4 percent gain.
But he said the likelihood of a buyout is speculative.
"Media reports ... seem plausible, but such a transaction remains highly uncertain," he wrote to investors, adding that the Miami company has healthy cash flows and an opportunity to increase productivity while expanding overseas.
Burger King is the second-largest hamburger chain after McDonald's Corp. But it's faring worse than its rival in a weak economy.
Burger King, which became a publicly traded company in 2006 and has 12,000 restaurants, already has connections to private equity firms. It was acquired by a group of firms in 2002. Those firms Ã¢â‚¬â€ TPG Capital, Bain Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs Funds Ã¢â‚¬â€ now own more than 30 percent of Burger King's outstanding shares.
Source: AP News
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