Primavera Capital Group and Ant Financial Group have agreed to invest $460 million in Yum China once Yum! Brands Inc.’s spin off of the unit is completed on Oct. 31, the company said on Friday.
Yum China will start trading Nov. 1 on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “YUMC.” Fred Hu, founder of Primavera and former chairman of Greater China at Goldman Sachs, will become non-executive chairman of the board at the company.
“We have long admired the Yum China business and are looking forward to collaborating with the board and management to realize the company’s full potential,” Hu said in a statement. “Yum China is an established leader in the retail and restaurant industry, which we believe is poised for continued strong growth and unit expansion as cities across China invest in new transportation hubs, shopping malls and other physical and electronic infrastructure that will support consumption.”
Primavera, a China-based, private-equity firm, will invest $410 million in Yum China. Ant Financial, an online and mobile financial services firm that operates the Alipay mobile payments platform, will invest $50 million. The amount of stock they acquire will depend on the trading price of Yum China in the early days following the spinoff. The investors will receive an 8-percent discount on the shares and will have the right to buy more shares in the future.
The deal will also help Yum China and its restaurants provide mobile payment and data services.
“Leveraging our big data capabilities, KFC and Pizza Hut witnessed promising marketing results through their promotion of multiple Ant Financial programs,” Eric Jing, president of Ant Financial Services Group, said in a statement.
Yum operates most of the more than 7,000 KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants in China, where the company has aggressively built locations to take advantage of the fast-growing economy. China currently accounts for half of Yum Brands’ revenues.
But the company has been pushing toward a spin off following years of sales weakness amid food safety and economic concerns in the country. Under the spin off, Yum! Brands will become primarily a franchised company while Yum China will be a franchisee.
Yum had been seeking a partner with deep Chinese business roots that could help the company continue to grow there.
“Primavera and Ant Financial both have deep insights into the rapid urbanization and digital transformation, which is driving the evolution of China’s economy,” Micky Pant, CEO of Yum China, said in a statement. “The investment is a clear endorsement of our business strategy and growth potential, and their diverse experience and relationships will be extremely beneficial.”
Primavera has supported numerous high-growth companies in China that benefit from rising consumption and the adoption of urban lifestyles there. Its investments include Ant Financial as well as Alibaba Group.
The deal with the groups “Mark another important milestone in our plans to separate the China business and create a solid foundation for Yum China as it prepares to become an independent restaurant powerhouse,” Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said in a statement.