BURGER KING TO FILE IPO STATEMENT WITH SEC BY MARCH

Long-Anticipated Move Comes as Sales Remain Flat for Fast Food

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Burger King Holdings, the parent company of Burger King Corp., today ended the anticipation of its long-expected initial public offering when it said it would file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission by early March.
Since 2002, Burger King has been working to make itself attractive to investors with a strong push toward its primary demographic -- young males -- with edgy interactive and TV ads featuring characters like the King and the Subservient Chicken.

“Our goal has always been to take Burger King public,” said Chairman-CEO Greg Brenneman in a statement. “We believe the transparency and stability in ownership offered by being a public company will benefit our employees and franchisees for years to come.” The company then set a quiet period for the immediate future.

Aggressive marketing
The holding company, owned by private equity investors Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, bought the chain in 2002 from Diageo for roughly $1.5 billion. Since then, the company has been marketing aggressively to make itself attractive to investors with a strong push toward its primary demographic -- young males -- with edgy interactive and TV ads featuring characters like the King and the Subservient Chicken.

Timing of the expected IPO had been predicted as early as 2006 but the marketer frequently stated it could be later. During the early stages of the turnaround, insiders pegged the IPO for early 2006 as the chain posted double-digit same-store sales gains. When those sales trends began to wane amid a category-wide slowdown, speculation swirled that the owners would try to flip the company before same-store sales flattened. Late last year, amid flat- to slightly-positive per store sales gains and franchisee unrest, insiders were saying an IPO would be unlikely for 2006.

Mending way with franchisees
Now, Burger King and its franchisee association are mending their stormy relationship and Burger King’s neck-and-neck rival Wendy’s is struggling to find the bottom of a sales decline.

“I guess they think they’re ready to go,” said one BK franchisee who expressed surprise at the timing.

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