Burger King to go public again

Nickalas Tabbert

 Your Whopper will soon be from a publicly-owned Burger King.

The company's owners announced Wednesday they have sold 29 percent of the Miami-based brand to a company in the United Kingdom investment fund for $1.4 billion.

The deal sets up Burger King to once again become a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, a move expected to occur within the next few months, the Miami Herald said.

3G Capital purchased Burger King in Oct. 2010 for $4 billion.  It will work with Justice Holdings Limited to form a new Delaware-based company that will become a publicly-traded entity.

"We believe it is the right time for Burger King to be publicly traded in the U.S. again," said Daniel Schwartz, the company's chief financial officer.  "The company and the brand have benefited tremendously from 3G's ownership and expertise.  As a publicly-traded company, it's going to help us to capitalize on the results we've achieved to date."

Justice Holdings was formed in Feb. 2011 as a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange with the goal of finding a company to invest in that offered strong cash flows, experienced management and growth opportunities, the Herald said.

William A. Ackman, a co-founder of Justice, was attracted to the improvement in Burger King's earnings before interest taxes and depreciation, which have gone from $320 million in 2010 to $503 million in 2011.

Burger King's focus on growth is expected to come internationally despite dips in North American same-store sales – considered the best measure of a chain's health.

"We believe that Burger King's aggressive plans for international growth will benefit from its visibility as a public company," Justice co-founder Nicolas Berggruen said in a statement.  "We looked at many different opporunities over the last 14 months, but Burger King stood out as a unique global player in the expanding international quick service restaurant industry with a strong heritage."