Maeil would be up against Korean food CJ Group and a consortium formed between NHN Entertainment and KG Group. But Maeil declined to confirm, saying “the matter has not been decided yet.”
The biggest stumbling block for the firm is the acquisition price, which is estimated to exceed 500 billion won (US$446.50 million).
Maeil, contrary to market estimates, has posted solid earnings so far this year. In the first half, its operating profit jumped 183.3 percent to 24.5 billion won. But an industry-wide decline is making it difficult for the firm to come up with the acquisition funds, those close to Maeil said on the condition of anonymity.
“There is a possibility that Maeil may form a consortium with private equity funds to jump into the race,” said one source.
To fetch a better price, McDonald’s Korea recently decided to merge its two separate Korean corporations as of Sept. 28. McDonald’s Korea was put on the selling block this year after its US headquarters decided to turn all Asian outlets into a franchised network.
The Korean unit of US-based McDonald’s runs around 430 outlets here, which is the highest number after Lotteria.
By Kim Ji-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)