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Yum completes China spinoff

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Yum Brands has completed the planned spinoff of its China unit. Yum China Holdings, the independent licensee for China created out of the spinoff, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange today under the ticker symbol “YUMC.”

The move frees up Yum Brands to focus on same-store sales growth and expansion of its three core brands across all markets, including the United States, Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed said in an interview with Bloomberg Markets: Americas.

The spinoff is part of a larger effort by Yum Brands to transition to a franchise-focused business model. The company expects to be at least 98% franchised by its fiscal year ending 2018.

“As a ‘pure play’ franchisor, we believe the transformed Yum Brands is going to deliver long-term sustainable results by being more focused, efficient, growth oriented and collaborative across our brands and with our franchisees,” Creed said in a statement.

Yum China consists of more than 7,300 restaurants on the mainland under the KFC, Pizza Hut, Little Sheep and East Dawning banners, with Taco Bell expected to be relaunched in the market by the end of this year.

The company will operate KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell as a licensee, and owns the Little Sheep and East Dawning chains.

KFC and Pizza Hut are among the leading quick-service and casual-dining brands in China.

As part of the business separation, Yum Brands’ stockholders received one share of Yum China common stock for each share of Yum Brands common stock held as of the close of business on Oct. 19.

The move comes as McDonald’s is making a similar push to lighten its assets in Asia. The burger giant has been seeking buyers for its businesses in markets like South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia.

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