Jollibee Foods Corp. has agreed to acquire an additional 45 percent of Smashburger for $100 million, the companies said Tuesday.
The deal will increase the Pasig, Philippines-based restaurant company’s ownership stake in the Denver-based “better burger” chain to 85 percent. Jollibee acquired 40-percent ownership of Smashburger in October 2015, which then valued the company at $335 million.
“Jollibee has been an invaluable strategic partner to date," said Tom Ryan, Smashburger co-founder and CEO, in a statement. "Our momentum in 2017 around improved guest experience, iconic and record-setting product launches, and innovative marketing provide JFC a tremendously strong brand to enter the North American market.”
Ryan has said the fast-casual chain has been undergoing a “quiet turnaround.”
Over the past year, Smashburger has developed new menu items, focused on value, begun advertising on television and other media, and deployed new technology, all in an effort to increase customer traffic. It is also renegotiating some leases.
Ryan said the efforts helped improve sales through increased traffic. In 2017, the company also launched the Smash Pass, a subscription-model customer frequency program.
Bradford Reynolds, Smashburger’s CFO, said the expanded Jollibee partnership will help the brand grow in Southeast Asia.
“We look forward to building upon our successful relationship to further bolster the brand as an international leader in the better burger segment," Reynolds said.
In the most recent Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200 census, Smashburger ranked No. 120, with $338.3 million in U.S. systemwide sales for the fiscal year ended in December 2016.
Smashburger, founded in 2007, has 360 owned and franchised restaurants in 38 states and nine countries.
As of Dec. 31, Jollibee Foods operated 2,875 restaurants in the Philippines, including 1,062 units of the Jollibee brand, as well as Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal and franchised Burger Kings, and 924 restaurants abroad, including in Australia, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Kuwait, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
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