Yum! Brands Splits In Two: Will Spin Off China-Facing “Bad Yum”

Just days after Yum! Brands saw its biggest earnings disappointment in years sending its shares cratering following Chinese results which caved orders of magnitude below expectations and leading to a major guidance cut, it appointed Icahn protege, activist investor Keith Meister to its board. Many speculated that some major spin-off, or split of the company’s China facing assets, was just a matter of time. And so it was, less than a week to be precise. Moments ago Yum! Brands announced its intention to split into two companies creating a publicly traded Yum! China or (“Bad Yum”) which will contain the ongoing Chinese weakness, while keeping legacy Yum! Brands.

How this is good for the company in the long-run is anyone’s guess, but at least it confirms that in the short run, China will get much worse before/if it gets better, as the 4% jump in the stock price confirms.

From the press release:

Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM) today announced that it intends to separate into two independent, publicly-traded companies, each with compelling and distinct strategies and investment characteristics. The transaction will create two powerful, best-in-class companies, each with a separate strategic focus:

  • Yum! China, a market leader with decades of accumulated consumer loyalty and world-class operations in China, will become a franchisee of Yum! Brands in Mainland China. It will have exclusive rights to three category-leading brands: KFC, China’s leading quick-service restaurant concept, and a favorite of Chinese consumers; Pizza Hut, by far the leading casual dining brand; and Taco Bell, which is expanding globally but is not yet in China, providing significant upside potential.
  • Yum! China will have an attractive investment profile and significant opportunity for growth. The Company is expected to have no significant debt, with substantial financial capacity to invest in its business. A favorite of China’s growing middle class, Yum! China has the potential to grow to 20,000 restaurants or more in the future from approximately 6,900 restaurants today. The business also has significant sales and profit growth potential in its existing restaurants, which the Company plans to capture over time by growing its core offerings and expanding further into new initiatives such as home delivery.

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    Author: Travis Esquivel

    Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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