Burger King in joint venture to help expand in Italy, Poland, Greece and Romania

Burger King Worldwide Inc. has entered into a joint venture to help expand its business in Italy, Poland, Greece and Romania.

The restaurant operator said Friday that the joint venture, called Burger King SEE S.A., has signed a long-term master franchise and exclusive development agreement that includes sub-franchise rights for all of the markets.

Burger King already operates in Italy, Poland and Romania. Its plan is for the joint venture to aggressively develop Burger King restaurants across Southern and Eastern Europe and create more than 10,000 new jobs within the first five to seven years of the venture.

Greece will be a new market for Burger King.

Burger King has about 14,000 locations in 100 countries and territories worldwide. Nearly all of the restaurants are owned and run by independent franchisees.

It was also announced on Friday that Burger King and Canadian doughnut shop chain Tim Hortons expect to complete their $11 billion tie-up on Dec. 12, following a shareholder vote early next week.

Shares of Burger King, which is based in Miami, added $1.40, or 4 percent, to $36.09 in midday trading.