Burger King’s parent company is adding Louisiana-style fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits to its fast-food empire by acquiring Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for $1.8 billion.
The deal announced Tuesday will add the 2,600 Popeyes outlets, most of which are in the eastern half of the continental U.S., to the 15,000 Burger King locations and 4,500 Tim Hortons stores operated by Restaurant Brands International.
RBI is paying $79.00 per share for Popeyes, a 19.5% premium to the stock’s Friday close. In trading Tuesday, the stock rose 19% to $78.73.
“Popeyes is a powerful brand with a rich Louisiana heritage that resonates with guests around the world,” RBI Chief Executive Daniel Schwartz said in a news release. “With this transaction, RBI is adding a brand that has a distinctive position within a compelling segment and strong U.S. and international prospects for growth.”
“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,” he added.
Restaurant Brands was formed in 2014 when 3G Capital-backed Burger King acquired Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain, for $11 billion. As The Associated Press reports, the Popeye deal fits RBI’s strategy of “taking over well-known fast-food chains that it believes have the potential for wider expansion.”
Eater said the acquisition “will present major opportunities to spread fried chicken and those glorious greasy biscuits across the globe — though it’s got a long way to go if it ever hopes to rival the reach of competitor KFC, which has a whopping 18,000-plus locations worldwide. It’s also right on time to catch the burgeoning fried chicken trend.”
RBI has been aggressively expanding Burger King, opening 735 outlets worldwide in 2016, compared with 631 in 2015.
Popeyes began 45 years ago as a Southern-fried “Chicken on the Run” restaurant in a New Orleans suburb. “RBI has observed our success and seen the opportunity for exceptional future unit growth in the U.S. and around the world,” Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder said.