Chicago-based BDT Capital Partners have decided to acquire a majority stake in Whataburger.
The Burger chain will remain headquartered in San Antonio, and the groups will "begin exploring expansion plans," according to a statement.
Whataburger founders, the Dobson family, will retain a minority position in the company. President and CEO Preston Atkinson and chairman Tom Dobson will keep their seats on the board but will withdraw from their day-to-day operations.
Both will turn to drive Las Aguilas, an investment company launched by the Dobson family in 2011, focusing on real estate and philanthropy.
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The decision "is both exciting and bittersweet" for the family, Tom Dobson said.
"Whataburger has been the heart and soul of the family's heritage for almost 70 years, but we feel very good about the partnership with BDT," he said. "They have a record of success with businesses as special as ours who want to grow, while maintaining culture and family history. They are trusted advisors and partners who have worked closely with other family businesses and have a huge reputation for doing the right thing. . "
Ed Nelson, Whataburger Chief Financial Officer and Controller, becomes President. Several other business leaders are also being promoted.
"Whataburger has grown considerably over the years. And to continue to satisfy our customers, we've explored various options to expand the brand and introduce it to new audiences," Atkinson says.
RELATED: Exclusive Whataburger swag Unveiled at the Employee Convention in Texas  "We've reviewed this process purposefully and diligently because we wanted to find a partner that honors our values, culture, and 69-year-old heritage of family tradition," he said.
Whataburger confirmed last month that it hired investment bank firm Morgan Stanley to help the company figure out how to best exploit its expansion.
"Our company is growing and is always attractive to investors and we have brought Morgan Stanley together to help us explore our options, "a Whataburger spokesman said in an email." We have always considered the opportunities that can accelerate growth and maintain the success of our brand, and we will continue to do so in the future. "
The company operates more than 820 sites, with over 670 in Texas alone. Whataburger elsewhere is in the South and Southwest, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
This is a developing story. Check all day for updates.