McDonald's, the global fast-food giant, on Monday announced a substantial expansion of its ownership stake in Chinese operations to take advantage of growth and opportunities in the world's second-largest economy. The company revealed plans to buy out minority shareholder Carlyle Group, increasing its stake in the Chinese business from 20% to 48%.
Carlyle Group originally acquired its stake in McDonald's (MCD) in 2017, when the Chicago-based fast food company divested its operations in mainland China and Hong Kong. Those operations were sold to a consortium led by local interests for approximately $2.1 billion. CITIC Capital, an investment management firm, held a majority stake of 52% in the Chinese business prior to the deal and will retain that position after the transaction closes.
China is fast becoming the focal point of McDonald's grand global ambitions. The company has seen exponential growth in the Chinese market, securing its place as the second largest market in the world. In recent years, the number of McDonald's restaurants in China has doubled, growing to more than 5,550 locations as of 2017. In addition, recent reports indicate that McDonald's sales in China have grown more than 30% year-over-year as of September 2019.