British investment firm considers stake in McDonald’s Japan


British investment fund Permira is expected to join bidding for shares in the Japanese unit of McDonald’s Corp., sources familiar with the matter said.

Permira has invested in various companies, including sushi restaurant chain Akindo Sushiro Co.

Others expected to take part in the auction include MBK Partners, the Asia-focused investment fund that has a stake in a Japanese coffee chain, the sources said Tuesday.

McDonald’s, which owns roughly 50 percent of McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan), is seeking to sell up to 33 percent of its stake as the U.S. fast-food chain reviews its operations around the world.

McDonald’s has sounded out trading houses and investment funds about buying shares in the Japanese unit, which has been struggling to win back customers following a series of food safety scandals in recent years.

Established in 1971, the Japanese unit has around 3,000 stores in Japan, but the number has shrunk following the scandals.

The outlook for a deal remains uncertain as McDonald’s is hoping to sell its shares in the Japanese unit for around ¥100 billion, but some investment funds believe that is overly optimistic.