In 2017, McDonald’s sold control of its restaurants in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau to private equity giant Carlyle and state-owned investment firm Citic. At the time, McDonald’s held onto 20% of the business. Since then, the fast-food giant has doubled its footprint in China to more than 5,500 locations, making it the second-largest market by number of restaurants for the chain.
McDonald’s has announced that it is buying Carlyle’s stake in its China business, increasing its minority share from 20% to 48%. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024 and financial terms have not been disclosed. Citic still retains its 52% stake in the business. According to a statement from McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski, “We believe there is no better time to simplify our structure given the tremendous opportunity to capture increased demand and further benefit from our fastest growing market’s long-term potential.”
Since 2017, McDonald’s sales in China have struggled due to the Covid pandemic which accounts for about 4% of the chain’s total revenue, down 3.8% from the year prior according to Factset estimates. On McDonald’s latest earnings call, Kempczinski noted that China is dealing with “slowing macroeconomic conditions and historically low consumer sentiment,” although the chain is drawing customers by promoting its burgers. Despite this setback