Burger King owner to buy Popeyes chicken chain for $1.8bn

Image source, Getty Images

Burger King owner Restaurant Brands is to expand its fast food empire by buying chicken chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for $1.8bn (£1.45bn) in cash.

Popeyes, whose fans include pop singer Beyonce, began 45 years ago as a Southern-fried "Chicken on the Run" restaurant in a New Orleans suburb.

The chain now has more that 2,600 outlets, mainly in the US.

Restaurant Brands, which includes the Tim Hortons chain, has more than 20,000 outlets in more than 100 countries.

The $1.8bn deal will see Popeyes shareholders get $79 for each share they hold. Media speculation about the sale began on 10 February, Restaurant Brands said in a statement.

Daniel Schwartz, the chief executive of Restaurant Brands, said: "We look forward to taking an already very strong brand and accelerating its pace of growth and opening new restaurants in the US and around the world."

Restaurant Brands was formed in 2014, when 3G Capital-backed Burger King acquired Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons for $11bn.

The fast food giant said it would pay for the Popeyes deal with "cash in hand" and financing from JP Morgan and Wells Fargo.