OAKVILLE, Ont. — The parent company of Tim Hortons and Burger King said Tuesday it will pay US$1.8 billion cash to buy the Popeyes chain of chicken restaurants in a friendly deal.
Restaurant Brands International (TSX:QSR) is offering US$79 per share of Popeyes, best known for its Louisiana-style fried chicken. Popeyes shares on the Nasdaq composite closed Friday at US$66.12.
“Popeyes is a powerful brand with a rich Louisiana heritage that resonates with guests around the world,” Daniel Schwartz, RBI’s chief executive officer, said Tuesday in a statement announcing the acquisition.
“We look forward to taking an already very strong brand and accelerating its pace of growth and opening new restaurants in the U.S. and around the world.”
Founded in New Orleans in 1972, Popeyes has grown to become a major competitor in the fast-food market, taking on the likes of KFC _ formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Popeyes has more than 2,600 restaurants in the United States, Canada and two dozen other countries. The company’s current management is expected to continue to operate the U.S. business.
“I am proud of the superior results the Popeyes team has delivered in recent years,” Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder said in a news release issued jointly with RBI.
“RBI has observed our success and seen the opportunity for exceptional future unit growth in the U.S. and around the world. The result is a transaction that delivers immediate and certain value to the Popeyes shareholders.”
The proposed takeover requires various approvals and sufficient shareholder support but RBI expects the deal to close by early April.
RBI has its headquarters in Oakville, west of Toronto, and more than 20,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories.