McDonald’s eyes selling its South Korea unit

(Source: Bigstock )

McDonald’s South Korea, wholly owned by the US headquarters, is looking for a new owner as competition in Korea’s burger market intensifies.

According to local sources, McDonald’s is the fourth major fast-food chain in South Korea to seek new ownership, following after Burger King, FKC and Mom’s Touch. 

The US chain entered South Korea in 1988 when the Seoul Olympics was held, opening its first restaurant in Apgujeong. The company attempted to sell its business in the country in 2016 but failed due to the high asking price. As of last year, the chain operates 404 restaurants nationwide. 

McDonald’s South Korea recorded US$801 million in sales last year, with directly-managed stores accounting for 70 per cent of that, up 9.7 per cent year on year. The business reported a net loss of US$27 million last year, a 47.6 per cent improvement compared with the year before. 

Last week, its rival Mom’s Touch disclosed it is seeking a new owner after delisting from the local stock market. Kong-based Affinity Equity Partners is selling its Burger King’s Japan and South Korean business units. 

Euromonitor estimates the South Korean burger market reached $2.3 billion in 2020 and was valued at $3.1 billion last year as more premium burger brands entered the country.

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