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Whataburger to sell majority interest to Chicago-based bank

Posted at 11:25 AM, Jun 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-15 21:42:26-04

Whataburger has announced that it will be selling its majority interest to a Chicago-based bank, BDT Capital Partners, LLC.

"Together, BDT and the Whataburger team will begin exploring expansion plans – while staying true to the brand it has been over the past 69 years," Whataburger said in a statement.

Whataburger headquarters will remain in San Antonio.

“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.

Morgan Stanley and Ernst & Young (EY) acted as transaction advisors and Jackson Walker acted as legal advisor to Whataburger. Closing of the transaction is expected later this summer and is subject to customary regulatory and other conditions.

The announcement included changes to the leadership team. The current CFO at Whataburger, Ed Nelson, will be promoted to president. For full details, click here.

The leadership changes will take affect on July 1.

This leadership realignment will allow Atkinson and Dobson, the current board president and board chair, to step aside and focus on operating Las Aguilas, a diversified investment company founded by the Dobson family.

“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.”