* Joint venture deal plans 1,000 restaurants in coming years
* Deal gives partners exclusive rights to expand in China
June 15 Burger King Worldwide Holdings Inc
said on Friday it plans to open 1,000 of its namesake
restaurants in China over the next five to seven years under a
newly-formed joint venture.
China is the world's fastest growing major economy and U.S.
restaurant companies such as Yum Brands Inc, McDonald's
Corp and Starbucks Corp each plan to build
hundreds of restaurants there in the coming years.
Miami-based Burger King said the deal represents the largest
multi-unit development agreement in company history. Its joint
venture partners in the China deal are members of the Kurdoglu
family, a long-time Burger King master franchisee, and Cartesian
Capital Group, a global private equity firm.
The agreement gives the group exclusive rights to expand the
Burger King brand in China from 63 units currently.
Burger King, which went private in October 2010 with its
$3.26 billion sale to 3G Capital Management LLC, is scheduled to
close its merger with a publicly held shell company this month.
When the deal closes, its shares will begin trading.
Yum Brands is the largest U.S. restaurant brand in China,
with more than 3,800 KFC restaurants and almost 700 Pizza Hut
outlets. Yum executives, who are still building restaurants
there, expect China's middle class to grow from about 300
million people today to 600 million in a decade.
McDonald's has more than 1,400 restaurants in China, which
ranks as its third-largest market in the world. The Golden
Arches is boosting investment in the country by 50 percent this
year, when it aims to open as many as 250 new restaurants.
Starbucks has 570 shops in China and expects to have more
than 1,500 by 2015.