McDonald’s gives up control of Chinese business in £1.7bn deal

McDonald’s is giving up the controlling stake in its Chinese business to a state-owned conglomerate as part of a global strategy to sell off more of its restaurants.
Beijing-backed Citic and Citic Capital Holdings will take a 52pc stake in McDonald’s restaurants in China and Hong Kong, while US-based Carlyle Group will control another 28pc.
The US fast food giant will retain the final 20pc as part of the deal, which it said was worth $2.08bn (£1.7bn).

Sales in China were hit last year as protests were staged against US companies amid a diplomatic spat between Beijing and Washington over the South China Sea.
McDonald’s has grown rapidly in China since it opened its first store in 1990, but is facing stiff competition from Asian brands such as Dicos and Real Kung Fu, which also offers noodles and rice dishes.
The new Chinese investor group plans to open a further 1,500 restaurants in the country’s second- and third-tier cities.
Experts claim a shifting diet towards burgers and pizzas has created an obesity explosion in China, particularly in less affluent inland areas.
But the new consortium will aim to capitalise on growing demand among the middle classes for healthier fast food options.
McDonald’s had previously announced plans for 4,000 of its global restaurants to be converted into franchises by the end of 2018.
Ninety-five percent of its restaurants will be converted in the longer term, it said.
This strategy enables McDonald’s to continue to take a slice of profits but cut down on operating costs.
The company is also facing tough competition in China from Yum Brands, which owns KFC and Pizza Hut.
Last year Yum created a new domestic business, Yum China, which plans to add 600 restaurants a year in China in the next five years.
McDonald’s has more than 2,400 restaurants in mainland China and 240 in Hong Kong. The deal will see 1,750 being converted into franchises.
Zhang Yichen, chairman and chief executive of CITIC Capital, will serve as chairman of the new venture.
“McDonald’s has strong growth potential in the Chinese market,” he said.
The deal will need to be approved by regulators in China but is expected to be completed this summer.


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