Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi is planning to divest its entire 35% equity stake in KFC Holdings Japan, which operates the Kentucky Fried Chicken brand in the country, Nikkei has reported.

The Japanese trading house, which holds 35% of KFC Holdings, is preparing to initiate the first round of bidding for the sale of its shares.

The move is part of Mitsubishi’s strategic asset reshuffle aimed at bolstering its earnings capacity.

Mitsubishi is looking to sell the stake despite KFC Holdings’ impressive financial results, as part of a larger plan to improve its portfolio.

The sale is anticipated to attract significant interest from foreign investment funds and leading restaurant operators.

Mitsubishi will engage in discussions with potential buyers to determine the most suitable purchaser for its stake.

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KFC Holdings, which is listed on the standard section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, boasts a market capitalisation of Y90bn ($598m).

The sale of Mitsubishi’s stake is expected to fetch tens of billions of yen.

But the success of the transaction may hinge on the position of Yum Brands, the prominent US fast-food company that holds a franchise agreement with KFC Holdings.

The outcome of the deal could be influenced by whether Mitsubishi and a prospective bidder can align on the terms, considering Yum Brands’ involvement in the franchise operations.

Uber Eats recently partnered with Mitsubishi and Cartken to launch an autonomous food delivery service in Japan.

The service, expected to launch by the end of March 2024, will use Cartken’s autonomous sidewalk robots.

The autonomous food deliveries will initially be available in select areas of Tokyo.