How Burger King’s Brilliant Brazilian Billionaire Turned $1.2B Into $22B

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- 3G Capital may make more money in a single day on Burger King Worldwide's (BKW)  possible acquisition of Tim Hortons (THI) than it cost the Brazilian private equity firm to buy the burger chain from Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital and TPG Capital in 2010. That deal-making coup underscores the prowess of 3G Capital and its principal owner, Jorge Paulo Lemann, who became Brazil's richest person in 2013.

Lemann and 3G only had to put up $1.2 billion in cash to buy Burger King in a 2010 leveraged buyout that relied on debt financing for roughly 70% of the acquisition price. In 2012, 3G sold 30% of its stake in Burger King to a special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) run by Pershing Square's Bill Ackman and billionaire Nicolas Berggruen for $1.4 billion, in a deal that was aimed at bringing the burger chain back to public stock markets.

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Since listing on the New York Stock Exchange in mid-2012, Burger King has been a top performer as its young management team executed on a franchise-oriented strategy, a simplification of the burger chain's menu and efforts to increase traffic in stores through new breakfast offering and coffee and non-coffee drinks.

On Friday, Burger King closed trading at $27.10, or a market capitalization of roughly $9.5 billion. News of the company's planned acquisition of Tim Horton's sent shares up over 20% on Monday morning, adding nearly $2 billion in market cap. 3G's ownership stake (about 70%) has gained just under $1.4 billion in Monday trading, or a few hundred million more than it cost to buy the company a few years ago.

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