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Restaurant Brands buying sandwich fast food chain Firehouse Subs for US$1 billion

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Restaurant Brands International Inc. is buying sandwich chain Firehouse Subs for US$1 billion, a deal the company says complements its existing portfolio of fast food brands.

The company behind Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes said Monday the U.S.-based restaurant, which features hot specialty subs and salads on its menu, is a strong and growing player in the quick service restaurant industry with substantial long-term growth potential.

Firehouse Subs has tripled its restaurant footprint to about 1,200 locations since 2010 while its system-wide sales have quadrupled to an estimated US$1.1 billion expected for 2021, according to Restaurant Brands.

The company said Firehouse Subs benefits from a “strong family of franchisees” who own and operate 97 per cent of the brand’s restaurants across 46 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

“We see tremendous potential to accelerate U.S. and international growth at Firehouse Subs with RBI’s development expertise, global franchisee network and digital capabilities,” Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil said in a statement.

“Firehouse Subs is a special brand with a talented team, impressive culture and community focus that resonates with guests and closely aligns with our core values at RBI.”

The sandwich chain was founded in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1994 by brothers and former firefighters Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen.

In 2005, the company established the non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in the wake of hurricane Katrina. The organization is dedicated to improving the capabilities of first responders through funding, resources and support.

“At Firehouse Subs we are united in our commitment to and passion for hearty and flavourful food, heartfelt service and public safety,” Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse Subs, said in a statement.

“Joining the RBI family of brands provides an energizing opportunity to assist more communities, not only across America and Canada, but around the globe.”

The all-cash deal is expected to close in the coming months, pending satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, according to the company’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Restaurant Brands said it plans to fund the acquisition through a combination of cash on hand and debt.

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