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McDonald's explores options for Boston Market

January 13, 2007|From the Associated Press

OAK BROOK, ILL. — McDonald's Corp. said Friday that it was reviewing its strategic options for Boston Market, the restaurant chain it acquired seven years ago as part of a push to diversify its business.

The statement came after Mike Andres, chief executive of Golden, Colo.-based Boston Market, said at that chain's annual meeting of all employees Thursday that McDonald's was looking at its options involving ownership of the chain.

"We are beginning to look at potential options and will explore our alternatives during 2007," McDonald's spokesman Walt Riker said.

"No decisions have been made whatsoever, and therefore it is absolutely inappropriate to speculate."

Boston Market spokeswoman Phyllis Hammond denied a report that Andres told the staff that McDonald's planned to sell the chain.

That option remains a possibility as McDonald's pares its stable of so-called partner brands, which formerly included Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Donato's Pizza and Fazoli's Italian fast-food restaurants. McDonald's spun off Chipotle last year after disposing of its Donato's and Fazoli's involvement in 2003.

The company's priority, Riker said, continues to be the McDonald's brand.

Boston Market, originally called Boston Chicken, has 620 restaurants in 28 states. McDonald's acquired it in 2000 for $173.5 million.

McDonald's shares fell 29 cents Friday to $44.22.

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