The company behind Burger King wants to take over fast food — and that could mean buying Papa John's

  • Restaurant Brands International, the company behind Burger King and Tim Horton's,  recently snapped up popular fast food chain including Popeye's.
  • Credit Suisse says investors want more, and predicts Papa John's, Wingstop, or Yum Brands could be next.

After snapping up Popeye’s for $1.8 billion earlier this year, investors in Restaurant Brands International, the company behind Burger King and Tim Horton’s, are hungry for more.

Credit Suisse has been talking to investors ahead of the company’s earnings next week, and finds they’re much more interested in expansion than a special dividend.

"We found that the majority of investors would prefer to see QSR add more brands to the portfolio rather than a one-time special dividend, even if the deal was not highly accretive at the outset or if it takes time to find the next acquisition," analyst Jason West said in a note Wednesday.

The bank modeled potential buyouts in a note last week, based on the roughly 33% premium Burger King paid for Tim Horton’s in 2014. Here are the top choices:

 

Papa John’s

 

The Kentucky-based pizza chain is top of Credit Suisse’s list for an RBI buyout, but the bank still says "we do not view a deal with PZZA as imminent or necessarily a high probability." Nevertheless, pizza isn’t on any current QSR-owned menu, and a 30% stock premium would be barely above PZZA’s all-time high.

RELATED: Top food chains Americans hate: 

26 PHOTOS
25 chain restaurants Americans hate
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25 chain restaurants Americans hate

Fricker's 

Excessive Noise Levels: 22%
Poor Service: 22%
Problematic Food Prep: 12%
Dirty Environment: 22%

Photo credit: Facebook.com
 

Dave & Buster's 

Excessive Noise Levels: 32%
Poor Service: 23%
Problematic Food Prep: 13%
Dirty Environment: 14%

Photo credit: Reuters

Taco Mac

Excessive Noise Levels: 24%
Poor Service: 28%
Problematic Food Prep: 13%
Dirty Environment: 9%

Photo credit: Facebook.com
 

Native Grill & Wings

Excessive Noise Levels: 23%
Poor Service: 19%
Problematic Food Prep: 13%
Dirty Environment: 15%

Photo credit: Facebook.com  

Quaker Steak & Lube

Excessive Noise Levels: 25%
Poor Service: 18%
Problematic Food Prep: 11%
Dirty Environment: 12%

Photo credit: Getty

Buffalo Wild Wings 

Excessive Noise Levels: 30%
Poor Service: 17%
Problematic Food Prep: 12%
Dirty Environment: 10%

Photo credit: Getty

The Green Turtle Sports Bar & Grille

Excessive Noise Levels: 25%
Poor Service: 20%
Problematic Food Prep: 12%
Dirty Environment: 10%

Photo credit: Facebook.com 

Huddle House

Excessive Noise Levels: 15%
Poor Service: 20%
Problematic Food Prep: 13%
Dirty Environment: 23%

Photo credit: Reuters 

P.J. Whelihan's Pub and Restaurant 

Excessive Noise Levels: 31%
Poor Service: 13%
Problematic Food Prep: 8%
Dirty Environment: 10%

Photo credit: Facebook.com 

Joe's Crab Shack 

Excessive Noise Levels: 24%
Poor Service: 18%
Problematic Food Prep: 11%
Dirty Environment: 11%

Photo credit: Getty

Hurricane Grill & Wings

Excessive Noise Levels: 21%
Poor Service: 20%
Problematic Food Prep: 11%
Dirty Environment: 10%

Photo credit: Facebook.com 

Wild Wing Cafe

Excessive Noise Levels: 24%
Poor Service: 20%
Problematic Food Prep: 10%
Dirty Environment: 11%

Photo credit: Facebook.com 

Hard Rock Cafe 

Excessive Noise Levels: 24%
Poor Service: 20%
Problematic Food Prep: 11%
Dirty Environment: 7%

Photo credit: Reuters

Rainforest Cafe

Excessive Noise Levels: NA
Poor Service: NA
Problematic Food Prep: NA
Dirty Environment: NA

Photo credit: Getty

Iron Skillet 

Excessive Noise Levels: 11%
Poor Service: 19%
Problematic Food Prep: 16%
Dirty Environment: 16%

Photo credit: Getty

Texas Roadhouse

Excessive Noise Levels: 38%
Poor Service: 10%
Problematic Food Prep: 7%
Dirty Environment: 10%

Photo credit: Getty

Buffalo Wings & Rings

Excessive Noise Levels: 31%
Poor Service: 31%
Problematic Food Prep: 10%
Dirty Environment: 9%

Photo credit: Facebook.com 

Dick's Last Resort 

Excessive Noise Levels: 18%
Poor Service: 20%
Problematic Food Prep: 9%
Dirty Environment: 16%

Photo credit: Getty

Logan's Roadhouse

Excessive Noise Levels: 24%
Poor Service: 15%
Problematic Food Prep: 12%
Dirty Environment: 14%

Photo credit: Facebook.com

House Of Blues 

Excessive Noise Levels: 19%
Poor Service: 19%
Problematic Food Prep: 14%
Dirty Environment: 10%

Photo credit: Getty

Bar Louie 

Excessive Noise Levels: 25%
Poor Service: 16%
Problematic Food Prep: 10%
Dirty Environment: 8%

Photo credit: Getty

Red Robin Gourmet Burger and Brews 

Excessive Noise Levels: 26%
Poor Service: 16%
Problematic Food Prep: 10%
Dirty Environment: 9%

Photo credit: Reuters 

Waffle House 

Excessive Noise Levels: 17%
Poor Service: 12%
Problematic Food Prep: 9%
Dirty Environment: 22%

Photo credit: Getty

Flanigan's Seafood Bar and Grill

Excessive Noise Levels: 27%
Poor Service: 11%
Problematic Food Prep: 12%
Dirty Environment: 11%

Photo credit: Facebook.com 

Duffy's Sports Grill

Excessive Noise Levels: 33%
Poor Service: 14%
Problematic Food Prep: 10%
Dirty Environment: 5%

Photo credit: Facebook.com 

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Yum Brands

 

"There is a strong case to be made for benefits of global scale," Credit Suisse said of the company behind Pizza Hut and KFC.

"However, many of these benefits are difficult to model and may be more than offset by: 1) dilution to existing shareholders (our base case is 80% of funding via new equity), 2) menu overlap between KFC and Popeye's and 3) potentially too much complexity in managing six of the world's largest fast food brands under one roof."

 

Wingstop

 

QSR already owns a robust chicken menu in its Popeye’s chain, but a merger with Wingstop could still result in $20 million in cut costs, according to the bank’s analysis.

Other possible — though unlikely — mergers include Chipotle, which has struggled to revive its slumping stock price after a string of food poisoning outbreaks, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’ Brands, Subway, and Little Caesars, Credit Suisse says.

Business Insider has reached out to QSR, as well as the three potential acquisitions about the proposed mergers and will update this post if comment is received.

Fast food has been a hot space for M&A activity lately, especially for private equity. Europe's JAB Holdings has amassed an empire of fast-casual coffee and sandwich restaurants including Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme, and Peets Coffee.  

Credit Suisse maintains its outperform rating for QSR stock, with a price target of $74 — 9.4% above the stock’s $67 price Wednesday morning. Shares of QSR are up 44% so far this year.

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