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Blackstone to sell Burger King locations to franchisee

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(Credit: Reuters) Customers queue up on the opening day of the Burger King restaurant at the Marignane airport hall December 22, 2012. Burger King
September 11
11:43 PM 2014

Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) plans to sell about 260 Burger King Worldwide Inc (BKW.N) locations owned by a unit in the U.S. Midwest to Texas-based fast-food franchisee Houston Foods Inc, Bloomberg reported.

Blackstone has agreed to sell the restaurants for less than $100 million as it tries to cut exposure to an increasingly sluggish fast-food industry, the report said quoting an unidentified source.

Blackstone's Illinois-based Heartland Food Corp owns about 330 Burger King locations in eight Midwestern states, the report said.

Heartland, Houston Foods and Burger King were not immediately available for the comment.

Private equity firm Blackstone acquired Heartland along with hedge fund GSO Capital in 2008.

Burger King said last month it would buy Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim HortonsInc (THI.N) (THI.TO) to create the third-largest quick service restaurant group with sales of about $23 billion.

The hamburger chain's global comparable-store sales has grown under 1 percent in the last five quarters. It operates over 13, 000 locations worldwide through its independent franchisees.

Burger King's shares closed down 1.8 percent at $30.82 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

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