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27/08/01 . Geoff Gibbs . The Guardian . UK
Coffee to go
McDonald's tires of Aroma
The US fast-food group McDonald's appears to have turned up its nose at the smell of coffee in Britain and is thinking of selling Aroma, the coffee-bar chain it bought two and a half years ago.
The Chicago-based corporation confirmed yesterday that it has appointed investment bankers SG Hambros to look at options for the business which operates 35 outlets in the UK, all but a handful of them located in central London.
McDonald's acquired Aroma in March 1999 for a reported £10m in the hope of becoming an important player in the burgeoning coffee bar market in this country.
It has expanded the chain from 23 outlets at the time of the acquisition but is understood to have come to the view that the British market has become too crowded.
Despite the expected sale of the Aroma business, McDonald's is thought likely to retain its stake in Pret a Manger, the expanding sandwich bar operation in which it acquired a one-third holding earlier this year.
Aroma cafés in Argentina and Switzerland will be unaffected by the
anticipated UK sell-off.