Brazil Burger King operator may price IPO near top of range, say sources: Reuters

The operator of the Burger King fast-food chain in Brazil, BK Brasil Operação e Assessoria a Restaurantes SA, is expected to price its initial public offering near the top of the suggested price range, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

One of the sources said the offer is three times oversubscribed at the top of the 14.50 to 18 reais range.

Shareholders and banks underwriting the IPO will set pricing early on Thursday, said the sources, who asked for anonymity because they are not allowed to discuss the matter publicly.

Due to strong investor demand, the deadline for investor orders was made earlier to Wednesday evening from Thursday afternoon, two of the sources said.

BK Brasil did not immediately comment on the matter.

If priced at the top of the suggested range, BK Brasil´s IPO would raise 2.26 billion reais ($681 million), not considering the sale of additional and supplementary allotments of shares.

BK Brasil would raise around 886 million reais in the so-called primary portion of the IPO to fund the expansion of its chain of 623 restaurants in Brazil. The rest would be received by shareholders selling part of their stakes in the secondary portion of the offering.

Burger King Corp, owner of the chain in the U.S. and controlled by buyout fund 3G Capital Inc, has a 13 percent stake in BK Brasil and is not selling shares in the IPO.

The IPO is being managed by the investment banking units of Itaú Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB4.SA), Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Banco Bradesco SA (BBDC4.SA), Grupo BTG Pactual SA (BPAC11.SA) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N).

The transaction in Brazil is being closely watched by shareholders of other companies operating Burger King restaurants outside the United States.

Peter Wu, managing partner of private equity firm Cartesian Capital Group LLC, expects the price to be a “relevant comparable” to the IPO of the company operating Burger King restaurants in China.

Cartesian is a shareholder in BK China, which operates 750 restaurants in mainland China.

Burger King’s largest franchisee outside the United States, TFI TAB Gida Yatirimlari AS, filed for an IPO in New York in November. TFI TAB, which operates more than 1,820 Burger King restaurants in Turkey, is also a shareholder in BK China.