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News Link • Economy - International

An unlikely business opportunity in Latin America


Several years ago, I was briefly involved in a deal here in Panama in which the local owner of several fast food restaurants was looking to sell. If memory serves, he had the Panamanian master franchise agreement agreement for a large North American burger chain with over a dozen locations across the country.

They were all profitable, and he wanted our help in finding a buyer. I remember thinking later that the owner had perfectly timed the top of the market in private equity, and he was rewarded handsomely for his acumen to the tune of 8 figures.

Perhaps more impressive is the recent IPO of Argentine company Arcos Dorados, Spanish for “Golden Arches.” The company, founded by Colombian expat Woods Staton, operates nearly 2,000 McDonald’s franchises across Latin America and has the exclusive right to do so in 19 countries in the region, including here in Panama.

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