Famous Brands buys UK burger chain for R2.1 billion

Listed fast food giant Famous Brands, which owns fast food outlets Steers, Debonairs and Fish Aways, among others, has purchased Britain’s Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), founded in 2001 and currently the UK’s leading premium burger restaurant, for R2.1 billion (£120 million at the time). According to Famous Brands, it intends to double the burger chain’s 75 British stores over the next five years. Kevin Hedderwick (pictured), Famous Brands group adviser for M&A and previously CEO, said he sees GBK opening 10 to 15 new restaurants in Britain per year. He added that the company intends to expand further in Ireland, and also bring the gourmet burger concept to South Africa. The transaction remains subject to approval from the SA Reserve Bank, in terms of exchange-control regulations, although Famous Brands has said it will fund the purchase consideration with cash accumulated in its business operations, as well as short-term funding as required. It was agreed in the contract that GBK’s team would continue to manage the business, and that no personnel changes are likely to take place. The acquisition is rated according to the JSE Listings Requirements as a Category 2 transaction.