Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM; “Yum!”) has announced that the proposal for the privatization of Little Sheep Group Ltd. (HKEx: 968; “Little Sheep”) by way of a scheme of arrangement (“Scheme”) has been approved by the independent shareholders of Little Sheep at the Court Meeting and Extraordinary General Meeting today. Under the proposal, Yum!, through a wholly owned subsidiary, is offering Little Sheep scheme shareholders HK $6.50 cash per Scheme share and is offering holders of options to subscribe for shares in Little Sheep HK $4.39 per option to cancel such options. Little Sheep operates hot pot concept restaurants primarily in China and is headquartered in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, China. Its shares are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Yum! will proceed to the next step of the privatization and will seek the sanction of the Scheme by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands at the petition hearing on 20 January, 2012. Assuming the Scheme is approved by the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, it is expected that the Scheme will become effective on 1 February, 2012, whereupon Little Sheep will be privatized and will become a subsidiary of Yum!.
Jing-Shyh Sam Su, Chairman and CEO of Yum! Restaurants China, Vice-Chairman of Yum! Brands, Inc. commented: “We are pleased to see that the Independent Little Sheep Shareholders value the offer provided by Yum!. We have a strong commitment to the China market and to the Little Sheep brand. We are confident we can further strengthen Little Sheep’s brand, business model and market position.”
Should the Scheme become effective, the two original Little Sheep founders, Mr. Zhang Gang and Mr. Chen Hongkai, will remain as minority shareholders. Mr. Zhang Gang will remain a director of Little Sheep with the title of “Founding Chairman”. Both Mr. Zhang and Mr. Chen will continue to provide strategic advice on the business and concept development of Little Sheep and work with Yum! to further build the Little Sheep brand.