McDonald's is targeting private equity firms, including Bain Capital, MBK Partners, TPG Capital Management and Chinese state-backed conglomerate China Resources (Holdings), for its planned sale of 2,800 restaurants in North Asia, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The U.S. fast food giant is adopting a new business model in Asia, which is now the most intense battleground for global restaurant chains, by planning to bring in partners to own the restaurants within a franchise operation.
Several other global restaurant operators have switched to the so-called franchise model and McDonald's has also set a long-term aim of being 95 percent franchised, the company said in a statement on March 31.
Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald's has hired Morgan Stanley to run the sale of the restaurants in China, Hong Kong and South Korea, the people said. A formal sales process is expected to kick-off in about three to four weeks, one of the people said.
Ahead of that, McDonald's and its adviser are drawing up a list of likely partners who will be approached to participate in the auction, the person added.