19 May 2022, 19:42 | Updated: 19 May 2022, 22:13
McDonald’s has found a buyer for its restaurants in Russia, who will rebrand them under a new name.
Alexander Govor, who already operates 25 of the restaurants in Siberia, has agreed to buy all 847 of them, the fast food giant said.
McDonald’s announced plans to sell its Russian business on Monday, making it one of the largest global brands to exit the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Gover has agreed to keep all of the company’s 62,000 Russian employees for at least two years on equivalent terms.
He will also pay the salaries of the burger chain’s corporate staff until the sale closes.
The Russian businessman, a licensee since 2015, is also the co-founder of Neftekhimservice, a refining company, and a board member of another business that owns the Park Inn hotel and private clinics in Siberia.
The sale, made for an undisclosed sum, is expected to close within a few weeks after it receives regulatory approval.
McDonald’s has previously said that it would take a hit of more than $1bn (£848bn) due to the exit.
The company said it would remove its name, golden arches and branding from the restaurants but keep its trademarks in the country.
McDonald’s has operated in Russia for more than three decades.
The firm temporarily closed its Russian stores in March and continued to pay employees.
The company said it had been losing $55m (£45m) a month due to shutdowns in both Russia and Ukraine.
On Monday, McDonald’s said that holding on to its business in the country was not tenable nor consistent with its values, citing the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and an “unpredictable operating environment”.
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Chief executive Chris Kempczinski said it has been a difficult decision but it was “impossible to imagine the Golden Arches representing the same hope and promise that led us to enter the Russian market 32 years ago”.
The first McDonald’s in Russia opened in Moscow in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
As the first American fast food restaurant to open in the Soviet Union, it was a powerful symbol of capitalism prospering as Cold War tensions eased.
(c) Sky News 2022: McDonald’s restaurants in Russia to reopen under new name after buyer found