Burger King Set for Market Debut

The fast-food chain's IPO prices at $17 a share, the high end of expectations.
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Burger King's

eagerly anticipated initial public offering of 25 million shares priced at $17 each late Wednesday, at the high end of its projected range of $15 to $17.

The shares will begin trading Thursday on the

New York Stock Exchange

under the symbol BKC. The Miami-based Whopper seller said in a press release that it expects proceeds of $393 million from the IPO, which will be used to repay $350 million in debt under its credit line and for general purposes.

The IPO marks the chain's first run as a public company since its founding in 1954. The company has been owned by private equity firms Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners since 2002. The group will remain the majority owners following the IPO.

It's been a big year for restaurant IPOs, with

Chipotle Mexican Grill

(CMG) - Get Report

and

Tim Hortons

(THI)

coming to the market with big demand.

Burger King's offering comes as the No. 2 burger chain tries to advance on burger giant

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

and stave off competition from

Wendy's

(WEN) - Get Report

.

Last month, Burger King named a new chief executive, John Chidesy, as part of its transition to a public company. He replaced Greg Brenneman, who was brought to the company in August 2004 and is largely credited with its turnaround.