Burger King Parent in Advanced Negotiations with Popeyes

The owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons, Restaurant Brands International, is holding advanced talks with the owner of Popeyes restaurants, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc., related to a takeover of the chain of fried chicken restaurants, said people close to the situation.

The negotiations are ongoing and it is possible that an announcement of a takeover would be released this week, the insiders said on Tuesday. Talks could result in no agreement as well, said those same insiders.

Popeyes currently has a $1.37 billion market value while the market value of Restaurant Brands is $25 billion.

Talks were held last summer between the two companies but an agreement was not reached. Burger King’s owner renewed interest in the fried chicken chain last week and submitted an offer of nearly all cash, said one of those close to the situation.

The chain of fried chicken restaurants then contacted potential counter bidders during the weekend, but no offer that was competitive came to fruition.

A spokesperson for Popeyes did not comment when asked about the ongoing talks, while a representative from Restaurant Brands had not responded to requests for a comment.

Restaurant Brands, which is backed by 3G Capital the Brazil based private equity company, was created three years ago when Burger King acquired Tim Hortons and then relocated its corporate headquarters to Canada home of its Tim Hortons chain of coffeehouses.

Berkshire Hathaway owned and operated by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, joined with 3G to provide the deal’s financing and still has a stake in the company.

Popeyes, which is Atlanta, Georgia based, opened in 1972 with one fried-chicken restaurant in New Orleans. It operated as well as franchised over 2,600 restaurants across the U.S. and over two dozen countries as of its quarterly report in October of 2016.

Fried chicken has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance of late, as people in the U.S. will consume more of it in 2017 than any previous year an average of 91.7 pounds per person, shows data from the National Chicken Council.

Its consumption surged over 225% since 1960. That has happened even though consumption of red meat has declined.

Many restaurants in the fast-food industry have joined in on the chicken bonanza as clients search out chicken. Taco Bell introduced a chalupa in January that has fried chicken.

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