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Jollibee still hunting for U.S. restaurant brands

Jollibee’s purchase of a 40-percent stake in Smashburger hasn’t satisfied the Filippino powerhouse’s interest in acquiring U.S. restaurant brands, according to a report in BloombergBusiness.

Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong told the news service that the company, a virtual unknown in North America despite its household awareness in Asia, would be willing to spend as much as $1 billion on an acquisition.  He indicated that private-equity firms have offered to partner with the company if the purchase target is right.

Jollibee agreed to pay about $134 million for the majority stake in Smashburger.

Caktiong did not divulge any details about the type of concept that would fit Jollibee’s expansion plan, but reports have indicated that the company is primarily interested in quick-service brands.

Jollibee’s strategic plan calls for opening 300 restaurants next year. Its primary areas of focus are the United States, China and Jollibee’s home base of the Philippines.

Some of those stores will presumably be Smashburgers.

“This acquisition will make the U.S. one of JFC's most important markets and drivers of long term growth along with the Philippines, China and other Asian markets abroad," Caktiong said at the time.

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