Retail in Asia


McDonald’s Korea back on sale after six years

McDonald’s Korea, a wholly owned subsidiary of the American fast-food behemoth, is looking for a new owner, joining the latest burger chain sales frenzy in the country.

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After a failed attempt six years ago, the company’s US headquarters stated on Friday that it is selling its entire ownership in the Korean operation as well as its business license.

According to news sources, the deal’s primary manager, Mirae Asset Securities, expects to issue letters to possible bidders as early as next month.

Alongside McDonald’s Korea, the country’s largest fast-food chain by revenue, four of the six major burger franchisees are also looking for new owners, including Burger King, KFC, and Mom’s Touch.

Burger King Korea, as well as Burger King Japan, is being sold by Hong Kong-based Affinity Equity Partners. Meanwhile, KG Group, a Korean chemicals company, is looking to sell KFC Korea after a five-year ownership. In order to find a new owner, Mom’s Touch, a Korean chicken burger chain owned by private equity firm Korea F&B Holding, delisted from the country’s second stock exchange, the Kosdaq.

Unlike the other four, the two remaining fast food chains, Lotteria and No Brand Burger, are subsidiaries of retail giants Lotte and Shinsegae, respectively.

McDonald’s Korea’s worth has yet to be determined, but market projections suggest it will be significantly higher than KRW 300 billion to 500 billion (USD 234 million to USD 469 million) it received in 2016. Burger King, a crosstown rival, is currently valued at roughly 1 trillion won.

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Carlyle Group, a private equity firm based in the United States, has been mentioned as a possible acquirer of McDonald’s Korea. Carlyle formed a consortium with Maeil Dairies, the nation’s largest dairy producer, when the company was placed up for sale in 2016, but eventually backed out of the agreement. It bought the Chinese and Hong Kong divisions in 2017 after a failed attempt to take over the Korean unit.