Yum!, McDonald's Hit All-Time Highs

Shares of Yum! Brands and McDonald's hit all time-highs in Thursday's trading session.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Shares of

Yum! Brands

(YUM) - Get Report

and

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

soared to record heights on Thursday.

Shares of Yum!, which operates restaurant chains under the Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC nameplates, touched as high as a record $48.30 on Thursday.

The company posted solid third-quarter results and a healthy outlook last week. Deutsche Bank analyst Jason West maintained a hold rating on the stock but noted that its "strong international margin trends and a large cash balance provide good visibility on our new forecasts, with higher likelihood of upside than downside."

McDonald's shares jumped to $76.88 on Thursday, an all-time high for the Golden Arches.

Helping to lead YUM and MCD stocks higher was a rumor circulating on Wall Street that industry peer

Wendy's Arby's Group

(WEN) - Get Report

may be the next high-profile restaurant chain to be taken private .

Morningstar analyst Joscelyn MacKay noted that Wendy's is indeed a ripe takeover target and may be next to be taken private after

Burger King Holdings

(BKC)

said in early September it had agreed to be taken private by 3G Capital for $24 per share.

In July an affiliate of

Apollo Management

took

CKE Restaurants

private for $694 million. CKE owned Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast-food chains.

Mexican restaurant operator Rubio's was taken private by

Mill Road Capital

earlier this year for $8.70 per share.

A number of other restaurant chains have been speculated to be ripe for takeovers as well.

"The right private owner might help one or more of these chains eventually become better, and likely smaller, competitors" to McDonald's, UBS wrote in a note to investors last month.

The note tapped

Sonic

(SONC)

,

Jack in the Box

(JACK) - Get Report

and Chili's operator

Brinker International

(EAT) - Get Report

as other potential restaurant stocks that may be targets for private-equity buyouts.

Deutsche Bank' West said that Wendy's is "one of the best values" in the restaurant space.

MacKay added that a Wendy's buyout remains purely speculative, but conceded that the company did say in a June regulatory filing that it had received a third party inquiry about a possible deal.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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