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Mon 9th Jan 2017 - Update: D&D London, McDonald’s and Punch
Restaurant company D&D London plans Bluebird cafe expansion: Restaurant operator D&D London is planning to expand its Bluebird cafe business, which has operated from a site in Chelsea for more than 20 years. It has signed a deal with property developer Stanhope to take a prime site in the former BBC Television Centre in west London. Des Gunewardena, chief executive of D&D London, said that after 20 years at its site at Chelsea’s King’s Road, it was time for The Bluebird Café to expand. He told The Times: “Over the years we have received countless approaches to open more Bluebirds. We have, however, always said no. But when Stanhope approached us, we said yes. Why? First because if the growing success of Bluebird Chelsea and secondly because we think the exciting new development of Television Centre in White City is a great location to start what I hope will become a significant expansion of Bluebird cafes in the next few years.” The Bluebird Cafe will be situated directly beneath what will be become Soho House’s largest club in London. Gunewardena said the company is in advanced talk for two more Bluebird sites, one in the West End of London and one overseas. D&D London plans two more restaurants in Leeds this year and a restaurant/cafe and deli in Land Securities Nova development in Victoria. Next year, it plans an opening in Manchester but a site at Land Securities development in Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries has been scrapped. 

McDonald’s sells 80% of China business: McDonald’s has entered an agreement to sell a 80% stake in its 2,200 stores in China and Hong Kong to a consortium involving China’s state-owned investment group Citic and private equity company Carlyle Group. The deal, which includes 20-year mass franchise rights, will value the business at as much as $2.08bn and help McDonald’s trim its overall operational costs and preserve capital. Citic will have a stake of 52% in the business, Carlyle will take 28%, and McDonald’s will hold 20% of the new company. The company announced its plan to sell its 2,200 restaurants in China last year, after its sales took a hit as tensions in the South China Sea impacted US companies’ results in the country. Its business in the country also suffered a hit in 2014 after a food safety scandal involving one of its meat suppliers. Competitor Yum Brands, the owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, is also restructuring its China business.

Recommended cash acquisition of Punch Taverns: Punch Taverns has stated that, in line with the announcement of tan agreed sale on 15 December 2017, the scheme document setting out the full details of the transaction will be published on or before 20 January 2017. The company added: “It is still expected that the shareholder and court meetings will be held in the first quarter of 2017, and that the scheme will become effective in the first half of 2017 subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the conditions and certain further terms set out in the announcement.”

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