Exclusive: Burger King and Tim Hortons owner in bid to buy Popeyes - sources

Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:39pm EST
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By Lauren Hirsch and Greg Roumeliotis

(Reuters) - Restaurant Brands International Inc (QSR.TO: Quote), owner of the Burger King and Tim Hortons fast-food chains, has approached Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc PLKI.O about a possible acquisition, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Shares of Atlanta-based Popeyes moved sharply higher on the news in afternoon trading.

A deal would be a bet by Oakville, Ontario-based Restaurant Brands that it can use its international reach to introduce Popeyes' famous Louisiana-style fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits to more diners globally.

RBI and Popeyes have yet to agree on a deal price, and there is no certainty that negotiations will continue, the people said. Restaurant Brands has also been considering the acquisition of other companies, one of the people added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Popeyes declined to comment, while Restaurant Brands did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Popeyes shares jumped 14 percent in New York, reaching a record $75.30 and giving the company a market capitalization of around $1.6 billion. Restaurant Brands shares rose 4 percent to C$70.12 in Toronto, giving that company a market capitalization of C$32.34 billion.

Popeyes, whose fans include pop singer Beyoncé, began 45 years ago as a Southern-fried "Chicken on the Run" restaurant in a New Orleans suburb. It has since expanded to more than 2,000 restaurants, of which 1,600 are in the United States.

The company has benefited from strong customer loyalty, as well as from a restaurant refurbishment program.   Continued...

A Burger King restaurant logo is pictured on a building in North Miami, Florida March 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri