Business Intelligence on Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism in China

Yum! Aims To Buy Additional Stake In Little Sheep

The international food and beverage giant Yum! Brands plans to acquire an additional 7.3% stake in the Chinese hot pot restaurant chain Little Sheep after taking a stake of over 20% in the company earlier this year.

According to a report published by Little Sheep, Yum! has made provisional plans to buy 75,042,456 shares at the price of HKD4 per share from Little Sheep's six executive shareholders, two non-executive shareholders, and 19 individual shareholders.

In March 2009, Little Sheep's two strategic investors, the British private equity firm 3i Group and Prax Capital Fund, sold the whole of their 13.92% stake in the Little Sheep to Yum!. In addition, Little Sheep and its chairman Zhang Gang sold an additional 6.07% stake to the American restaurant group, making Yum! the second largest shareholder of the Chinese hot pot chain.

Founded in August 1999, Little Sheep had opened 127 own restaurants and 248 franchised restaurants in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, North America, and Southeast Asia by the end of 2008. Its latest financial report showed that during the first six months of 2009, the company made total revenues of CNY626.3 million, a year-on-year increase of 18.5%; and its net profit during the same period was CNY39.2 million, a year-on-year decrease of 7.2%.

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