Bridgepoint strikes deal to expand Burger King across UK

Private equity giant Bridgepoint has seized control of Burger King's UK business, vowing to revamp the fast food brand and expand it across the country.

Bridgepoint has struck an undisclosed deal with Burger King Europe GmbH (BKE) to become the restaurant chain's UK master franchisee.

The move will see the private equity group launch a new operation, which will hold exclusive UK brand rights and have the power to roll out more Burger King restaurants throughout the UK.

In a double swoop, Bridgepoint has also snapped up one of the UK's largest Burger King franchisees - Caspian UK Group - which owns 74 restaurants.

In a statement, Bridgepoint said: "Burger King is a pre-eminent global consumer brand with a robust and growing presence in the UK market, well-liked by consumers.

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"This is an opportunity to work with a highly regarded management buy-in team to re-invigorate a much-loved brand and to grow the existing UK business."

As part of the deal - details of which were first reported by the Press Association - Bridgepoint will create a new management team led by former Wagamama and Center Parcs chairman Martin Robinson.

Mr Robinson, who will be chairman-designate of the UK operation, said: "Burger King is an iconic global brand with a long-standing heritage in the quick service restaurant market.

"Working with Bridgepoint and BKE, the team believes it can deliver growth and further opportunities for the brand to flourish in the UK market."

Burger King has more than 500 UK sites, but trails rival McDonald's which has around 1,200 restaurants.

The UK operation, which has secured a 20-year UK master franchise agreement, is majority owned by Bridgepoint, with BKE continuing to hold a minority stake.

José Cil, president of the Burger King brand, said "We are thrilled to announce this agreement to increase the pace of growth for the Burger King brand in the UK, one of the world's largest quick service restaurant markets."

BKE is part of Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons.

Burger King was founded in 1954 and is the second largest fast food burger chain in the world.