MIAMI (CBSMiami) — If you’re a fan of The Whopper, you can now own a piece of the company that makes then. Miami’s home-town fast food company, Burger King, is once again being traded on the New York Stick Exchange after years of being privately held.

Trading began Wednesday morning under the ticker symbol “BKW.” Shares gained 98 cents, or 6.8 percent, to $15.48 in morning trading.

This not the first time Burger King has been in the stock market.

The No. 2 hamburger chain in the world was last traded as a public company between 2006 and 2010, before it was purchased and taken private by investment firm 3G Capital.

Burger King’s return to the Big Board wasn’t through an initial public offering. 3G Capital announced an unusual deal in April to sell a minority stake to Justice Holdings Ltd., a London-based entity that was specifically set up to invest in another company. 3G Capital received $1.4 billion in exchange and retains a 71 percent stake in the company.

Under the deal, Justice suspended trading on the London Stock Exchange once the deal was complete and emerged as Burger King Worldwide Inc. on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company is hoping public investors will help fund plans to expand overseas, as the fast-food market becomes increasingly crowded at home.

Burger King recently announced plans to open hundreds of new restaurants in Russia and 1,000 in China over the next several years. That’s in addition to similar expansion plans for Brazil announced last year.

In the US, Burger King has been working to refresh its outdated image and win back lost market share. The company launched its biggest menu expansion ever in April, with items including fruit smoothies, specialty salads and coffee frappes.

Burger King has more than 12,500 restaurants worldwide, about a third of McDonalds 33 thousand stores.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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