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Consumer Confidential: Burger King buyout, strong sales, AOL keeps Googling

Here's your thankfully Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- It might take two hands to handle a Whopper, but it took $3.26 billion for a private equity firm to buy out Burger King. The fast-food giant -- a perennial second place to Mickey D's -- is being acquired by 3G Capital for a hefty 46% premium over where BK's stock was trading before all the buyout rumors began. Clearly, the folks at 3G think they can find the secret sauce needed to make Burger King more flavorful in the eyes of consumers. Or maybe they think the never-ending recession will keep people flocking to the low end of the culinary spectrum.

-- Light at the end of the tunnel? Probably not, but at least a spark of hope. Retailers posted surprisingly solid sales for August, with their cash registers ringing 3.3% more than a year ago. Back-to-school sales and deep discounts were big drivers of the sales gain. And while we're talking up the economy, don't overlook an increase in pending home sales, up 5.2% in July, and low-low-low mortgage rates. My cup's sort of feeling half full, I have to say.

--AOL has signed a new search agreement with Google. And millions of people under the age of 30 ask themselves: "What's AOL?"

-- David Lazarus

 
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