With Acquisition, RBI Looks to Fuel Growth in China

Restaurant Brands Int'l. says the country has “compelling” long-term growth opportunities for two of its four concepts.

Popeyes
Photo courtesy of Popeyes.

On July 1, RBI announced its acquisition of Popeyes China as well as a co-investment with Cartesian Capital into the business of TH International Limited (“Tims China”).

RBI agreed to acquire Popeyes China from Tims China on a cash-free debt-free basis based on an enterprise value of $15 million. Following the transaction, RBI will own and operate Popeyes China.

“China is one of the most compelling long-term market opportunities for both our Popeyes and Tim Hortons brands,” says Rafael Odorizzi, president of Asia Pacific, in a press release. “Popeyes China is off to a strong start and we are excited to unlock its development potential in one of the largest chicken QSR markets globally. Today’s announcement allows Tims China to redouble its focus on quality restaurant development and providing Chinese consumers with our high-quality Tims coffee and food offerings.”

Tims China acquired Popeyes China in March 2023, and the Popeyes China franchise opened its first restaurant opened shortly after, in August 2023. Less than a year later, there are 14 restaurants in Shanghai, and RBI says the pace of growth is expected to ramp up through investments in local teams and restaurant development. Longer-term, RBI aims to bring on local partners to form a more traditional master franchisee.

Further, to fuel the growth of Tims China, Cartesian Capital and RBI agreed to invest up to $50 million of capital into the Tims China business via three-year convertible notes.

The pair of transactions followed the May 2024 appointment of Patrick Siewert as RBI’s senior advisor for Asia-Pacific. Siewert’s hiring is expected to contribute to RBI’s aspiration of opening at least 7,000 new international restaurants through 2028.

At the end of 2023, RBI had more than 4,500 restaurants in Asia, including over 2,300 in China. Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes all have restaurants in Asia, while RBI plans to introduce Firehouse Subs in the coming years.

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