LOUISVILLE, Ky. ( TheStreet) -- Yum! Brands ( YUM) said Tuesday it put restaurant chains Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Restaurants up for sale as it pushes to expand in international markets. Yum! said the divestments come as it narrows its focus for long-term growth plans toward greater expansion in China and other international markets while concurrently growing sales at Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC in the U.S.
Investors were pleased with the idea of a slimmer, more focused Yum!, bidding the restaurant operator's shares 2.6% higher to $49.10 in early-afternoon trading. More than 3.2 million shares were in play with just under three hours left in the session, compared with their average daily trading volume of 2.8 million. Yum! said it was looking for a buyer for LJS and A&W but has yet to find one. CEO David C. Novak commented that Yum! grew earnings-per-share by 13% over the past ten years, crediting the growth to aggressive expansion in China and other emerging markets , opening an average of nearly four new restaurants outside the U.S. each day.
"We do not believe Long John Silver's and A&W-All American Food restaurants fit into our long-term growth strategy," Novak said. "Accordingly, we have decided to put these two great brands up for sale and we will complete the sale only once the right buyer or buyers have been identified and we can ensure a seamless transition." Yum! added that it "does not expect the eventual sale to have a material impact to its ongoing earnings or cash flow."