SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — San Antonio-based Whataburger announced Friday it has agreed to be acquired by BDT Capital Partners, LLC.
The burger chain said BDT will gain a majority interest in Whataburger.
The purchasing company is described in the announcement as a “merchant bank that advises and invests in family and founder-led companies.”
Whatabuger said in a statement the two companies will begin exploring expansion plans while staying true to its brand.
“Whataburger has grown significantly over the years. And, in order to keep satisfying our customers, we’ve been exploring different options to expand the brand and introduce it to new audiences. We’ve gone through this process purposefully and diligently because we wanted to find a partner who honors our values, culture and 69-year legacy of family tradition,” said Whataburger President/CEO Preston Atkinson.
“We’re excited about the partnership with BDT because they respect and admire the brand we’ve built,” Atkinson continued. “They want to preserve it while they help us continue growing a sustainable, competitive business over a long period of time. They don’t plan to change our recipe for success.”
Aside from the financial infusion into Whataburger, BDT is expected to bring growth strategies to the chain.
“Whataburger is an iconic brand and extraordinary company with an important legacy of family ownership, loyal customers, valuable community involvement, dedicated and talented employees, and a highly experienced management team,” said Tiffany Hagge, Managing Director of BDT Capital Partners. “We look forward to a long-term partnership with the Whataburger team, continuing their commitment to serving high-quality, great-tasting food at a value and delivering a superior customer experience. We are excited to support Whataburger as they continue to innovate and pursue accelerated growth in existing and new markets. This investment is a perfect example of BDT’s business model – to partner and invest alongside exceptional family businesses, with strong cultures, deep community ties and loyal customers.”
The move will have most of the chain’s current leadership team gaining additional duties and responsibilities, while the Dobson family — the founders of the burger chain — will step aside and focusing on operating the investment and philanthropy company the family founded in 2011. Tom Dobson and outgoing president Preston Atkinson will remain on the company’s board of directors during the transition.
“This is both exciting and bittersweet for the Dobson family. Whataburger has been the heart and soul of our family legacy for nearly 70 years, but we feel really good about the partnership with BDT,” said Tom Dobson. “They have a track record of success with businesses as special as ours that want to grow, while preserving culture and family history. They are trusted advisors and partners who have worked closely with other family businesses and they have a tremendous reputation for doing the right thing.”
“More than anything, we’re beyond grateful for our 43,000 Whataburger Family Members who work in our restaurants 24/7,” Dobson continued. “And to our Whataburger fans: You’re part of our family. And as we grow, we know our Whataburger team will continue to make you proud.”
Whataburger will remain headquartered in San Antonio.