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Burger King sold in pounds 1.44bn deal.

DRINKS giant Diageo ended its long-running attempt to offload fastfood chain Burger King by unveiling its pounds 1.44bn sale yesterday.

Diageo, which wants to focus on its more profitable drinks business, said it had agreed a deal with a group led by US private equity firm Texas Pacific.

The London-based firm first announced plans to either float or sell the 11,457-strong Burger King chain two years ago.

Chief executive Paul Walsh said the announcement represented an ``important milestone'' for Diageo and for the development of its brands, including Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker scotch and Guinness.

Of the Burger King restaurants, 10,386 are run under franchise, with the rest wholly owned by Diageo. The Burger King chain, founded in 1954, is based in Miami.

Mr Walsh added the deal ``provided for the future'' of Burger King and its employees after a period during which sales have come under pressure.

Burger King has 686 outlets in the UK, 603 of which are operated by outside parties on a franchise basis.

A portion of the purchase price hinged on Burger King meeting performance targets in the financial year to June 30, 2002.

In the year to the end of June 2001, Burger King achieved a underlying operating profits of 257 million US dollars. Diageo shares were up 5pc following the announcement.
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Title Annotation:Business
Comment:Burger King sold in pounds 1.44bn deal.(Business)
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 26, 2002
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