Blackstone bites into first NZ deal

The global firm has agreed to buy Burger King’s New Zealand operator from Anchorage Capital Partners.

The Blackstone Group has agreed to acquire New Zealand’s Antares Restaurant Group – which operates popular fast food chain Burger King in the country – for an undisclosed amount, marking the firm’s first deal in Australasia.

Although the firm has previously taken part in bids for Australian assets such as hospital operator Healthscope and meat product company Primo Smallgoods, Blackstone has yet to transact in the region outside the real estate space.

Headquartered in Auckland, Antares operates 75 Burger King restaurants throughout New Zealand. The company also has plans to broaden its footprint across the country, according to a statement.

Blackstone will buy Antares from Australian private equity firm Anchorage Capital Partners, which acquired the company in September 2009. At the time, the company had revenues of NZ$150 million and 71 stores.

The deal adds to a growing list of Australasian secondary buyouts.

In August, Bain Capital agreed to buy accounting software company MYOB from Archer Capital and HarbourVest Partners in a deal reportedly worth A$1.2 billion. In June, Quadrant Private Equity sold Quick Service Restaurant Holdings to Archer, while CHAMP Ventures sold hospital group Healthe Care to Archer. 

Focused on special situation opportunities and operational turnaround investments, Anchorage closed its maiden fund on $200 million in March 2010.

Goldman Sachs acted as financial advisor to Blackstone with Rippledot Capital Advisers acting for Anchorage. Debt financing and ongoing credit facilities to Antares are being provided by ANZ, Rabobank and Westpac.