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Jollibee takes full ownership of US restaurant chain Smashburger

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Jollibee takes full ownership of US restaurant chain Smashburger

Jollibee Foods Corp. has taken 100% ownership of restaurant chain Smashburger, according to an SEC filing dated Dec. 14.

The Manila-based company, through its subsidiary Bee Good! Inc., bought Smashburger Master LLC's 15% stake in Smashburger parent SJBF LLC for $10 million. It also plans to convert Bee Good!'s $80 million loan to Smashburger into equity before the end of 2018.

In February, Jollibee raised its stake in Smashburger from 40% to 85% with a $100 million investment.

The deal expands Jollibee's footprint in the U.S. Smashburger, with its 351 stores, accounts for 7% of the Philippine company's consolidated sales.

As part of the deal, Smashburger co-founder Thomas C. Ryan will remain CEO of the company and join Jollibee as chief product development adviser with immediate effect.

The Philippine restaurant chain also appointed Jose A. Minana, its country head for North America, as president of Smashburger. Minana will be charged with applying Jollibee's business management systems to Smashburger.

Jollibee has been eyeing expansion in the U.S., U.K. and China to better compete with YUM! Brands Inc.-owned rival KFC. It plans to launch 25 stores in the U.K. over the next five years.