McDonald's (MCD) - Get Reporthas sold a majority stake in its operations in China to Carlyle Group plc and a state-backed investment group for around $2.1 billion, the company said late Sunday.

CITICCapital Holdings and CITIC Ltd.  (CTPCY) , two investment vehicles controlled by the Chinese state, will own 52% of a new partnership and company formed in mainland China and Hong Kong that will hold a 20 year lease on group operations. Carlyle (CG) - Get Report and McDonald's will have 28% and 20% respectively, McDonald's said in a statement.

"China and Hong Kong represent an enormous growth opportunity for McDonald's," said CEO Steve Easterbrook. "This new partnership will combine one of the world's most powerful brands and our unparalleled quality standards with partners who have an unmatched understanding of the local markets and bring enhanced capabilities and new partnerships, all with a proven record of success."

McDonald's shares closed at $120.76 in New York Friday, up 0.89% on the session and extending their three month gain to around 6.44%. 

That said, McDonald's stock was one of the worst-performing components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average last year, rising a meager 3% thanks to a stretch of slowing sales at the world's largest restaurant chain's important U.S. market.

The company's U.S. sales rose 1.3% in the third quarter, a slower pace than the 1.8% increase seen in the second quarter. In the first quarter, McDonald's U.S. same-store sales rose 5.4%. The results were even more disappointing considering McDonald's aggressive TV marketing of its new Chicken Nuggets, made without artificial ingredients, during the Olympics and steady stream of ads for its all-day breakfast platform.

As a result of the slowdown and tough year-ago comparisons, McDonald's may be on track to show a decline in sales in the U.S. for the fourth quarter.