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May 1, 2002

USA: Tricon not in the bidding for Burger King, says CEO

David Novak, CEO of US foodservice giant Tricon Global Restaurants, says the group is not among the bidders for Burger King, the US burger group being auctioned off by UK drinks conglomerate Diageo. At least five private investment groups are reported to have submitted bids for Burger King, the world’s second largest hamburger seller behind McDonald’s.

David Novak, CEO of US foodservice giant Tricon Global Restaurants, says the group is not among the bidders for Burger King, the US burger group being auctioned off by UK drinks conglomerate Diageo.

At least five private investment groups are reported to have submitted bids for Burger King, the world’s second largest hamburger seller behind McDonald’s.

Novak did, however, say that Tricon is looking at developing an Asian concept to complement its current restaurant portfolio, which includes the newly acquired Long John Silver’s seafood chain and A&W All-American Food Restaurants as well as old favourites Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell.

“Further down the road, we’re very intrigued by what’s going on with Asian food. We think it’s a category we may have an opportunity to move into that we can also use to leverage asset base,” Novak told analysts in a call yesterday [Tuesday].

Looking forward, one of Tricon’s two key goals is international growth, driven by new openings of KFC and Pizza Hut in China, Mexico, South Korea and the UK. This year, it plans to open 1,000 new restaurants overseas, with about 70% to be opened by franchisees.

At home in the US, meanwhile, Tricon is seeking to expand in the fast casual segment of the dining industry through small investments that it can combine with its main brands, executives said. The company is currently testing a restaurant combining Taco Bell with Backyard Burgers, a regional hamburger chain, with plans for more co-branded restaurants in the future. It is also reported to be looking for a pasta and sandwich acquisition that it could combine with its Pizza Hut chain.

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