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Ackman Takes Big Bite of Burger King

CNBC with Reuters
Friday, 22 Jun 2012 | 1:30 PM ET

Hedge fund manager William Ackman disclosed on Friday that he has personally taken a 12-percent passive stake in Burger King Worldwide.

Burger King shares rose about 3 percent after word of his position in the burger chain surfaced. The company's stock has been on the rise since it returned to the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week.

Rather than an initial public offering, Burger King returned to the public market through a complex deal that it announced in April.

The owner of the Miami-based chain, 3G Capital, sold a minority stake to Justice Holdings, London-based publicly traded shell company co-founded by Ackman that was specifically set up to invest in another company.

Justice then suspended trading on the London Stock Exchange, then emerged as Burger King on the Big Board.

Only 16 percent of Burger King shares were available for sale to investors. According to the SEC filing Friday, Ackman took a personal 12 percent stake in Burger King, while Pershing Square, the hedge fund he founded, and related entities took a big chunk as well.

As part of the deal, 3G Capital is to hold onto its 71-percent stake for at least six months.

3G Capital has been overhauling Burger King's operations since acquiring the chain in late 2010. In the U.S., the company in April launched its biggest menu expansion ever in hopes of attracting a broader customer base. The chain is also looking to aggressively expand its footprint overseas, given the saturated market at home. This month, Burger King announced partnership deals to open several hundred restaurants in Russia and 1,000 in China over the next several years.

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