Burger King's roughly $11 billion acquisition of Tim Hortons has customers and industry watchers wondering what the merger will mean for both companies. In announcing the move, executives stressed that the deal will have little impact on Tim Hortons' more than 3,000 restaurants in Canada, where the coffee chain is an iconic brand.
In the U.S. and other countries, the merger may lead to a big expansion of the Tim Hortons brand. Tim Hortons currently has more than 800 restaurants in the U.S., mostly in the Northeast. The coffee chain has tried - repeatedly and largely unsuccessfully - to expand to other parts of the U.S. market.
But Eric Atkins, a business reporter for Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper, says the merger with Burger King may change the outlook for Tim Hortons expansion efforts.
"How Burger King might use the Tim Hortons brand is, I think, still up for question," Atkins says. "Certainly, it seems Burger King's outlets in the U.S. and around the world could provide an entree for Tim Hortons onto the global stage."
In a conference call yesterday announcing the deal, executives at Burger King confirmed the company hopes to grow the Tim Hortons brand internationally and in the U.S., where most people still don't know much, if anything, about the chain.