Blackstone fails to find buyer for Burger King NZ at hefty price tag: Report

The logo of Burger King is seen outside a shop in Vienna in Vienna, Austria, October 1, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

New York-based private equity firm Blackstone Group LP has called off the sale of fast food chain Burger King in New Zealand after failing to find a buyer, according to a report by The Australian.

The sale, which was launched four months ago, drew interest from potential buyers who ultimately baulked at the franchise’s NZ$120-million ($80.26 million) price tag, the report said.

Blackstone had bought Antares Restaurant Group, the operator of Burger King New Zealand, from Australia-based Anchorage Capital Partners for NZ$108 million in 2011.

In April, the buyout major was said to have hired investment banking firm Deutsche Craigs to advise on the potential exit.

Burger King operated 75 stores in New Zealand when Blackstone acquired the local franchise owner. It has now grown its presence to 83 restaurants.

The chain has faced stiff competition from fast-food rivals in the country, especially McDonald’s that runs twice the number of restaurants and recorded a net profit of NZ$66.3 million in 2018, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Meanwhile, Burger King stores were said to generate NZ$20 million in annual sales.

Last year, Antares was found to have breached the Minimum Wage Act and banned from hiring migrant workers. It was also criticised for “racist ads” that showed patrons at the restaurant struggling to use oversized chopsticks.