Updated (June 14 12:14 p.m.):
According to a statement by Whataburger, the company has agreed to sell a majority interest to BDT Capital Partners, LLC, a merchant bank that advises and invests in family and founder-led companies. Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. will provide the committed financing to support the transaction.
The original article continues below from May 17, 2019:
Is it possible Whataburger is coming to a town near you? According to the San Antonio Business Journal, fast food chain Whataburger has been in talks with multinational investment bank and financial services company MorganStanley to explore a possible sale of the restaurant chain. But what exactly does that mean for our spicy ketchup?
According to Whataburger's corporate communications team, "Our company is growing and is always attractive to investors, and we've brought in Morgan Stanley to help us explore our options. We have always evaluated the opportunities that can accelerate growth and maintain the success of our brand, and we will continue to do so in the future."
In simpler terms, Whataburger restaurant wants to grow and is looking to see what its next step is. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the privately-owned business. What started out as a small burger joint in Corpus Christi in 1950 slowly blossomed to include over 824 Whataburger restaurants. And this might just be the beginning.
Whataburger has been gaining popularity since it's inception. According to the trade publication, QSR, Whataburger had sales of more than $2.2 billion in 2017, more than Hardee's, Carl's Jr. and even Five Guys. While most of its locations are based in Texas, the brand has begun to expand to the southwest in the past years, with restaurants in Alabama, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. A possible sale could mean the brand expanding across the United States.
Reuters broke the news back on May 6, sharing that the fast-food chain was considering a minority stake sale to a financial investor or private equity firm. An unnamed source shared that the chain could possibly be worth $6 billion dollars.
There's no saying when a decision will be made, but until then, we'll be eating our Jalapeno & Cheese Whataburger with gusto.