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New Deal Means a New Majority Owner for Smashburger


In $100 million deal, Jollibee Foods Corp. will acquire an additional 45 percent of Smashburger, the Denver-based burger franchise that has more than 360 restaurants. The companies announced the deal Tuesday and it’s one that increases Jollibee’s ownership stake in the chain to 85 percent. The Philippines-based restaurant company first bought a 40 percent stake in Smashburger in October 2015 for $100 million, a deal which then valued the chain at $335 million.

Tom Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Smashburger, called Jollibee an “invaluable strategic partner.”

“Our momentum in 2017 around improved guest experience, iconic and record-setting product launches, and innovative marketing provide JFC a tremendously strong brand to enter the North American market,” said Ryan in a statement. “Our entire team couldn't be more excited to grow the Smashburger brand and share the great tastes of Smashburger with the world.”

Ryan took over as CEO in December 2016 following the exit of Mike Nolan after just nine months. Nolan had replaced Scott Crane, who stepped down in April 2016.

Since Ryan’s move to chief executive, Smashburger has focused on developing new menu items, such as its Triple Double Burger, and expanded its marketing efforts. The company in 2017 also launched Smash Pass, a subscription-model consumer frequency program.

With the expanded Jollibee partnership, Smashburger CFO Bradford Reynolds said growth in Southeast Asia is a focus.

“This reinforced strategic partnership with JFC will allow Smashburger to continue to focus on growth in both existing and new markets including the opportunity to bring our great tasting burgers, fries and hand-spun shakes to Southeast Asia,” said Reynolds. “We look forward to building upon our successful relationship to further bolster the brand as an international leader in the better burger segment.”

Smashburger’s footprint extends to 38 states and nine countries. Jollibee Foods operates the largest foodservice network in the Philippines, with 2,875 restaurants in the country as of December 31, 2017. In addition to its 1,062 units of the Jollibee brand, it has Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal and is a Burger King franchisee with 93 units. It also operates restaurants in Australia, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Kuwait, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

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Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is associate editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
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