McDonald's trying to sell off stakes in Japan again

Tokyo, Jan 13 (IANS) The McDonald's restaurant chain is again inviting bids for the sale of part of its stake in McDonald's Holdings, a company that manages the brand's operations in Japan, after an unsuccessful attempt in 2015.

The parent company, which owns around 50 per cent of McDonald's Holdings, would be trying to get rid of 33 per cent of its shares, sources familiar with the situation told Kyodo news agency on Friday.

These sources said the value of the operation could exceed $870 million and that potential buyers would be investment funds such as the UK's Permira or the US' Bain Capital, Efe news reported.

McDonald's agreed on Monday to sell most of its operations in China and Hong Kong to a Chinese state-owned conglomerate and an US investment fund.

McDonald's Holdings was established in 1971 as a 50-50 joint venture with McDonald's and Japanese company Fujita, which sold all of its shares in 2005.

The US giant had already attempted to reduce its involvement in the Japanese unit at the end of 2015, when it was going through its worst moment in the stock market since 2013 in the face of a sharp drop in its turnover.

An agreement signed with the popular video game -- Pokemon Go -- in 2016 allowed McDonald's Holdings shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to recover substantially and their bonds were now worth 20 per cent more.

With nearly 3,000 restaurants, Japan was second largest market for McDonald's after the US.