Whataburger sells majority stake to Chicago-based merchant bank

Daniel Fowler
June 15, 2019

According to multiple published reports and WFAA.com, the majority interest in Whataburger has been acquired by BDT Capital Partners.

The Dobson family, who founded the company, will retain a minority ownership position. "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".

Atkinson and current Whataburger Board Chair Tom Dobson will maintain seats on the board of directors but will retire from day-to-day operations of the company.

"We're excited about the partnership with BDT because they respect and admire the brand we've built", said Whataburger President/CEO Preston Atkinson.

With the rapid growth they have seen over the past years, Whataburger founders said it was needed in order to keep customers satisfied and to expand its brand to a new audience.

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In May, Reuters reported that Whataburger had hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to help explore the possibility of a sale.

"Whataburger has grown significantly over the years".

The Dobson family opened the first Whataburger in Corpus Christi in 1950. "They have a track record of success with businesses as special as ours that want to grow, while preserving culture and family history". It now has almost 700 restaurants in Texas and more than 150 others in southern states extending from Arizona to Florida.

"They would be insane to mess with this formula that has worked", Davis said.

The acquisition is expected to be completed later this summer, but the company has already made some internal leadership changes described as "internal promotions". Las Aguilas was established by the Dobson family in 2011.

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