Castle Harlan agrees to buy Burger King chain in Puerto Rico

NEW YORK, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Castle Harlan, Inc., the New York private-equity investment firm, announced today it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Caribbean Restaurants LLC (CRI), operator of 165 Burger King restaurants in Puerto Rico. CRI is the market leader and the most successful quick-service restaurant franchise on the island. The agreement puts the aggregate value of the transaction at $340 million. Castle Harlan will be purchasing Caribbean Restaurants from Oak Hill Capital Partners, L.P., which partnered with management and American Securities Capital Partners to acquire CRI in September 1999. Caribbean Restaurants has been in business for 40 years and consistently outperforms other fast-food concepts in Puerto Rico, including McDonald's. Its average annual revenue per restaurant exceeds that of the average Burger King on the U.S. mainland, and its sales growth surpasses that of Burger King worldwide. "Caribbean Restaurants is a stellar performer that has been able to deliver strong cash flows even during economic downturns," said David Pittaway, senior managing director at Castle Harlan who negotiated the transaction. "The company has a seasoned and highly effective management team, including founder and CEO Luis Arenas, and substantial growth potential." He said the current management would remain in place and would continue to hold an equity stake in the company. Caribbean Restaurants joins other restaurant companies in Castle Harlan's portfolio. They include Morton's Restaurant Group, a leading operator of upscale steakhouses, and McCormick & Schmick's, a leader among full-service seafood restaurants. Founded in 1987, Castle Harlan is a leading New York private-equity investment firm, investing primarily in controlling interests in the buyout and development of middle-market companies in North America and Europe. Castle Harlan's team of 10 managing directors, including its founders, has completed more than 60 acquisitions with a total value in excess of $7 billion. The firm, whose roots date back to the start of the institutionalized private-equity business in the late 1960's, has managed private-equity capital in excess of $2.5 billion. Castle Harlan also invests in Australia, New Zealand and the Australasian region through its Sydney-based affiliate, CHAMP, which is one of Australia's oldest and largest private equity firms. Castle Harlan's portfolio companies, which employ more than 26,000 people, include Gravograph, the global leader in engraving technology; Associated Packaging Technologies, the country's leading manufacturer of CPET containers for the frozen food industry; and Advanced Accessory Systems, the largest manufacturer of automotive roof racks and tow systems in North America and Europe. Oak Hill Capital Partners, L.P., founded by Robert M. Bass and the firm's principals, is a $1.6 billion private-equity partnership based in Fort Worth, Texas, with offices New York City and Menlo Park, California. Oak Hill's recent investments include Align Technology, Blackboard, ExlService, Progressive Moulded Products, TravelCenters of America and WideOpenWest. Since 1986, Bass and the partnership's principals have invested in numerous transactions in a broad range of industries, including American Savings Bank (Washington Mutual), Bell & Howell Company, Wometco Cable Corporation, Williams Scotsman, Stage Stores and Oreck Corporation. Oak Hill Capital co-invests with other Oak Hill partnerships that in aggregate manage approximately $10 billion of capital across multiple asset classes, including private equity, special situations, high yield and bank debt, public equity exchange, venture capital and real estate.

Topics: Burger/Steak/BBQ, Chicken, Food & Beverage, Franchising & Growth, International, Sandwich

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