Burger King, runner-up to McDonald’s as a global icon of the American Way of Life, is set to return home from the ownership of London-based wines and spirits group Diageo.

BK has been put up for auction following a steady decline in its fortunes, allegedly due to under-investment by Diageo which has chosen to focus on its alcoholic assets.

Five or more private investment firms, all of them US-based, were due to lodge bids for BK on Friday. The fast-food chain first fell into British hands in 1989 when Diageo [then known as Grand Metropolitan and later to merge with Guinness before rebranding as Diageo] collected BK along with its acquisition of US food and drink conglomerate Pillsbury.

Onlookers have always viewed BK as the ugly duckling in Diageo’s portfolio. Returned to US ownership, it could soon evolve into a fully fledged swanburger.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff