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BK franchisee to sell 240 stores

MIAMI Fla. Burger King’s second-largest franchisee is selling more than 240 units for $155 million to GSO Capital Partners, a New York-based hedge fund, according to a published report.

The seller, Downers Grove, Ill.-based Heartland Food Corp., is principally owned by Alvaro Cabrera, a Burger King franchisee since the mid-1980s. He told the Miami Herald the time was right to sell his holdings, as he’d intended to do since creating Heartland Food Corp. in 2003 by acquiring units. Cabrera said he paid $16 million for 131 units then owned by franchisee AmeriKing of Westchester, Ill., which was in bankruptcy. Cabrera later added 22 units to his group for about $25 million. The sale to GSO will leave Alvaro with his original 10 BK franchises in South Florida.

Heartland’s units are in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida.

Cabrera reportedly plans to build or acquire some 100 hotels within the next five years, primarily on the East Coast, and to start construction on the first five in 2007.

GSO has investments of more than $5 billion in a broad array of assets.

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