Pershing Square Behind Burger King Sale Plan

Apr 5 2012 | 12:20pm ET

Pershing Square Capital Management doesn't own Burger King. But it's selling the fast-food chain.

Pershing Square's William Ackman has been instrumental in bringing Burger King back to the public markets. He persuaded 3G Capital Management, which took BK private a year-and-a-half ago and in which Pershing Square is an investor, to advance its plans. And he's offered the blank-check company he co-founded, Justice Holdings, which raised money last year to buy a big company.

Under the plan unveiled Tuesday, Burger King will merge with Justice within two months. 3G will retain 71% of the combined company's shares.

So, how did Ackman do it? He convinced 3G that merging BK with a shell company would be better than an initial public offering, which he said would be arduous and too much of a distration.

"The process of going public can really damage a business," Ackman said yesterday. And he praised the job 3G did in boosting BK's efficiency, taking potshots at its biggest rival, in the process.

Pointing to McDonald's huge corporate campus and its Hamburger University, Ackman asked, "Is McDonald's an enormously bloated company?"

"Yes."


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