London--Diageo PLC announced Thursday it has agreed to sell its fast-food business Burger King Corp. for $2.26 billion in cash to a consortium of U.S. venture capital firms led by Texas Pacific Group. The long-awaited deal, reached after days of intense negotiations, is crucial to Diageo's strategy of focusing on its more lucrative business of making and selling alcoholic beverages under labels including Johnnie Walker, Guinness and Bailey's.

Diageo has long said it planned to unload Burger King in a sale or spin-off and confirmed in May that it was in talks with potential buyers for the Miami-based hamburger chain but refused to identify them. The Texas Pacific Group-led consortium emerged as the sole contender to buy Burger King after two rounds of bidding, said a source familiar with the talks leading to the sale.

Burger King's franchise owners had supported splitting off from Diageo, complaining of thin profit margins in flat domestic sales and ineffective marketing. -Associated Press