Yum! Brands board approves separation, distribution

by Erica Shaffer
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The transaction is expected to close by Oct. 31.
 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The board of directors of Yum! Brands Inc. approved the separation of the company’s China business.

The transaction is expected to be finalized after the close of business Oct. 31. Yum China expects to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange beginning Nov. 1 under the ticker symbol “YUMC.” “When-issued” trading for both Yum! Brands and Yum China is expected to begin on the NYSE on Oct. 17 under the symbol “YUM WI” for Yum! Brands and “YUMC WI” for Yum China.

“This is an exciting time for Yum China as we approach our launch as a new, independent public company,” Micky Pant, CEO of Yum China, said in a statement. “Yum China has a leading position in the Chinese market, and we see tremendous opportunities to leverage our well-recognized brands and decades of experience to drive growth. We are all energized to achieve Yum China’s full potential and create sustained value for shareholders.”

The board approved a distribution of one share of Yum China common stock for each share of Yum! Brands common stock held at the close of business on Oct. 19. No fractional shares of Yum China stock will be issued. Yum! Brands shareholders are not required to surrender or exchange their shares, and the number of Yum! Brands shares owned by each shareholder will not change as a result of the distribution, the company said.

“We are moving full steam ahead with the separation of Yum China, establishing two powerful, independent and focused growth companies dedicated to building on our brand strengths and unlocking the full value of each business for our shareholders,” Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands, said in a statement.  “As one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, Yum! Brands will continue to focus on expanding the presence and performance of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell as a primarily-franchised business to deliver enhanced value to shareholders.”

The board also raised the company’s dividend 11 percent to $0.51 per share from $0.46 per share, payable Nov. 4.

So far, Yum! Brands has repurchased approximately $5.1 billion in shares at an average price of about $80, reducing the company’s share count by approximately 25 percent as of Sept. 23. The company expects to repurchase an additional $1.1 billion shares by the end of the year. The repurchase program is part of the company’s plan to return $6.2 billion of capital to shareholders in connection with the spinoff of Yum China.

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