Thu, Apr 27, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Fair Trade Commission approves McDonald’s sale

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday approved McDonald’s Restaurant Operations Inc’s application to sell its operations in Taiwan to Ambassador Hotel Ltd (國賓大飯店) president Hubert Lee (李昌霖), removing the last investment hurdle.

The commission’s approval came one month after the Investment Commission gave its green light to the NT$5.09 billion (US$168.8 million) deal.

The FTC said that Kingsdale Corp (德昱股份有限公司), in which Lee indirectly owns a 70 percent stake via five different companies, inked an agreement to purchase 100 percent of McDonald’s Taiwan.

The US fast-food company had been looking for buyers for the franchise rights to its 350 Taiwanese branches since June 2015, as part of a corporate turnaround strategy.

Ambassador confirmed in December last year that Lee was interested in the deal.

PERSONAL DEAL

However, the compamy added that it was a personal deal and that Lee’s investment is unrelated to the operations of the hotel and its parent company, Yeangder Group (仰德集團).

The FTC said the deal is simply a transfer of operations and a change of ownership structure, which will not alter the market share of McDonald’s in Taiwan — estimated at 25 percent — or have a negative impact on the local fast-food industry.

Moreover, although Lee serves as the president of Ambassador, he does not own a controlling stake in the hotel, which would have been a violation of fair trade regulations, the FTC said.

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