McDonald's confirms sale of Donatos Pizzeria back to founder, Grote

Dec. 15, 2003

OAK BROOK, Ill.—Jim Cantalupo, McDonald's Corp. chairman and CEO announced the company will sell 182-unit, Columbus, Ohio-based Donatos Pizzeria back to Jim Grote, who founded the company 40 years ago.

According to a news release, McDonald's called the move another "step in the company's revitalization plan."

An exact sale price was not disclosed, but the release said McDonald's will take a charge of 23 cents to 28 cents per share on the divestiture, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, is equal to about $350 million after taxes.

Since Cantalupo came out of retirement about a year ago to fill the void left by former CEO Jack Greenburg, McDonald's has reaped the rewards of a renewed focus on its flagship brand and posted eight straight months of same-store gains at its burger units.

McDonald's will continue to develop its 230-unit Chipotle fresh-Mex chain, as well as the 652-unit Boston Market home-meal-replacement chain. Many industry watchers thought both might be sold, but it appears they might be spun off later.

It will retain its minority investment in Pret A Manger, a London-based high-end sandwich chain, but it will exit its domestic joint venture with Lexington, Ky.-based Fazoli's, a quick-serve Italian chain.

McDonald's also will discontinue development of its non-McDonald's brands outside the U.S. The decision affects Boston Market in Canada and Australia, and Donatos Pizzeria's three Germany units.

See related Donatos stories BREAKING NEWS: Grote family reacquires Donatos Pizzeria from McDonald's, Are congrats in order for Donatos Pizzeria's Jim Grote?, McDonald's sale of Donatos Pizzeria appears imminent and Donatos Pizzeria, other Partner Brands, under 'strategic review' at McD's.

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