Wimpy owner, Famous Brands, buys Gourmet Burger Kitchen for £120m
The South African owner of Wimpy has gobbled up British burger chain Gourmet Burger Kitchen for £120 million, pouring cold water on Brexit fears in the process.
Famous Brands said its acquisition of the restaurant group was the "biggest deal the group has ever concluded".
In a statement, the company said: "The low interest environment in the UK is supportive of continued consumer spend, while the impact of fears of Brexit on this sector appear negligible - endorsed by a recent survey which confirms that despite the generally subdued economy, household spend in the Eating Out category is up 4% year on year in June 2016."
GBK had been owned by private equity Nando's owner Capricorn Ventures, another South African vehicle.
Kevin Hedderwick, Famous Brands' strategic adviser, said the group will continue to expand in the UK, opening 10-15 restaurants a year, and also look to export the brand to South Africa.
"GBK has substantial store growth potential in the UK, with a secure, current pipeline of sites in place. Furthermore, there is opportunity to export the brand to South Africa," he said.
GBK, which was founded in Battersea in 2001, currently operates 75 restaurants across the UK.
Famous Brands said there will be no changes to personnel, with the intention being the transition in ownership to be effected "seamlessly".