Portillo’s confirms Berkshire Partners investment

Portillo’s is getting an investment from Berkshire Partners, putting the future of the Chicago institution into the hands of a Boston-based buyout firm.

It was not immediately clear whether the deal, announced on Tuesday, would be an outright acquisition or whether Dick Portillo, who founded the restaurant in 1963, would retain a stake.

Portillo said in a statement that he "was seeking an experienced partner that shared our vision for the company and an appreciation for our culture.

"After careful consideration," the statement continued, "Berkshire Partners proved to be the best choice. I look forward to working together to further strengthen our company."

Earlier on Tuesday, Reuters reported that Berkshire was in talks to acquire privately-held Portillo's for close to $1 billion, citing people familiar with the matter. Neither party confirmed that the deal was an outright acquisition and they declined to discuss the financial terms.

Portillo’s, known for foods such as Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, had attracted several interested parties since it announced on April 30 that it was exploring financial alternatives, including a possible sale of its Portillo’s chain of 38 restaurants.

The majority of Portillo's restaurants are in Illinois, along with locations in Indiana, California and Arizona.

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