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Shown above is a store of global fast-food restaurant franchise McDonald’s in Korea. McDonald’s Korea is up for grabs. Photo courtesy of McDonald’s Korea

M&A gets brisk in the food & beverage markets

There were a few pieces of news about mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the South Korean food and beverage market this week, which involved SPC Group and McDonald’s Korea.

On June 7, the country’s food giant SPC Group said that it had acquired French restaurant chain Lina’s by taking over a 100-percent stake in the brand.

Established in 1989 in Paris, Lina’s has made its presence felt in the salad and sandwich markets in such countries as France, South Korea, Lebanon, and Columbia.

In particular, SPC Group has run the brand’s Korean operations during the past 20-plus years.

SPC Group said that it would tap into the global markets in a more proactive way based on the experiences and technological edge of Lina’s.

On top of the European markets, SPC Group noted that it would also target Southeast Asian countries and North American states.

“We are ready to acquire other overseas brands and wade into new offshore markets,” an SPC Group official said.

McDonald’s, the world’s top fast-food restaurant chain, appears to try to find out a new business operator in South Korea.

Toward that end, it reportedly hired Mirae Asset Securities as an advisor of late.

When contacted, a McDonald’s Korea representative said that the firm was looking for a strategic partner in Korea while refusing to elaborate on the issue.

This is not the first time for McDonald’s Korea to try to find a new owner. In 2016, the restaurant chain picked Morgan Stanley to sell the stake. But the attempt fell apart.

“The food and beverage market is facing fast changes. Local companies are vying to wade into global markets as shown by SPC Group or Lotte,” Prof. Seo Yong-gu at Sookmyung Women’s University said.

“In addition, the market for global brands is in flux as McDonald’s Korea, Burger King, and KFC are all up for grabs.”

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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.