Burger King Behemoth: Carrols Group Buys 278 Restaurants to Become Miami Chain's Largest Franchisee

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. completed a cash-and-stock deal with Miami-based Burger King Corp. earlier this week for 278 restaurants. That gives it a company high total of 574 world-wide. Syracuse-based Carrolls shelled out $16.2 million in cash and a 28.9 percent equity interest to Burger King Corp.

The transaction comes after Carrols raised $150 million in capital to pay for the deal, refinance existing debt and kick-start remodeling of more than 450 restaurants over 3.5 years. The new restaurants are located mostly in the northeast, in Ohio, Indiana, Kntucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

"This transaction significantly expands the scope of our operations, adds a number of new markets to our existing footprint and strategically positions us for future expansion," said Carrols CEO Dan Accordino in a press release.

"Our near-term focus will be on integrating the acquired restaurants and realizing the considerable opportunities to improve their operating and financial performance. Longer term, we look to expand and further build shareholder value through the acquisition and consolidation opportunities that we believe are present."

Carrols has operated Burger King restaurants since 1976 and also owns Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana franchises. It reported assets of $440 million and revenue of $816.1 million in 2009 with an operating income of about $20 million.

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