McDonald’s signals exit from Russia after 30 years

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McDonald’s will sell its Russian business after more than three decades in the country, an exit which the US fast-food giant says was prompted by the war in Ukraine.

The Chicago-based company said it would look to find a buyer in Russia.

Outlets will then undergo ‘de-seating’, meaning the McDonald’s name, menu and branding – including the iconic golden ‘m’-shaped arches – can no longer be used.

“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine and the rushing unpredictable operating environment have led McDonald’s to conclude that maintaining corporate ownership in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with values ​​of McDonald’s,” a statement from the company read.

McDonald’s said ensuring its 62,000 employees in Russia continue to be paid until a deal is finalized is its top priority.

The company will accrue special costs of $1.2 billion ($1.7 billion) to $1.4 billion ($2 billion) for the exit, including write-downs and foreign exchange losses.

The full withdrawal follows McDonald’s announcement on March 8 that it had temporarily closed restaurants and suspended operations in Russia.

At this moment Russia also announced that it would no longer enforce intellectual property from “hostile countries,” primarily those that imposed sanctions on Russia.

Since then, a number of trademark applications have been filed in Russia.

Russian Field-Logistic LLC filed a trademark application for the sideways-turned McDonald’s logo, featuring Anton Chekhov’s famous coin Uncle Vanya written in Cyrillic.

He came after Russian politician Vyacheslav Volodin told the Russian parliament that all McDonald’s should be replaced by a national network called “at Uncle Vanya’s”.

Deposits have since been made for the Cyrillic versions of McDonald’s and McDuck [the Russian nickname for McDonald’s]as well as the Latin-alphabet version from Starbucks, legal news site Law 360 reported.

Starbucks is believed to have 130 stores in Russia, which also closed due to Russian aggression.

The chains are part of a host of multinationals – including Coca Cola, Pepsi, H&M, Ikea, Disney, Nike, TJX Cos, Apple, Netflix, TikTok, Mercedes-Benz and Airbnb – for announcing that they have restricted or stopped their activities in Russia.

-APD

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