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Magic Johnson to Buy 30 Burger King Restaurants

June 08, 2004|From Associated Press

Earvin "Magic" Johnson will soon be selling Whoppers.

The NBA Hall of Famer said Monday that his Los Angeles-based company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, agreed to buy 30 Burger King restaurants in Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Dallas and Miami. Terms of the deal, expected to close July 1, were not disclosed.

"With these restaurants, we expect that, as time passes, new jobs will be created and relationships with minority contractors will be strengthened in these four important cities," Johnson said in a statement.

Burger King Corp. Chief Executive Brad Blum agreed.

"We believe that increasing our focus on existing minority-owned franchisees, as well as developing more minority-owned franchises, is a significant benefit for the Burger King system, and, in addition, healthy franchisees help build wealth and expand job opportunities within urban communities," Blum said.

The restaurants will feature memorabilia from the former Los Angeles Laker's career but won't bear his name, said Clyde Rucker, an executive at the Miami-based fast-food chain.

As founder and chief executive of Magic Johnson Enterprises, the former basketball great has spent the last 11 years bringing theaters, T.G.I. Friday's restaurants and Starbucks coffee houses to under-served communities -- typically urban centers with large minority populations.

Johnson's playing career was cut short in November 1991 when he tested positive for HIV, although he later made an aborted comeback attempt and briefly coached the Lakers. He won five NBA titles with the Lakers, was key to Michigan State's NCAA title in 1979 and won an Olympic gold medal in 1992.

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