McDonald’s to return $20B to shareholders

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McDonald’s Corp. plans to return up to $20 billion to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks by 2016.

The Oak Brook fast-food giant outlined a three-year plan to optimize its capital and ownership structure during an investors conference Wednesday. The plan, dubbed the “Plan to Win,” includes returning between $18 billion and $20 billion to shareholders and selling 1,500 company-owned stores to franchise operators in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

McDonald’s says the dividends and buybacks target is between 10 percent and 20 percent more than the cash returned to shareholders between 2011 and 2013. The refranchising goal is a more than 50 percent increase.

“We are pursuing targeted growth opportunities to provide our customers with their favorite food and drink, create memorable experiences, offer unparalleled convenience and become an even more trusted brand to deliver the most meaningful impact for our customers and our business,” president and CEO Don Thompson said in a news release.

The company said it intends to invest in growth areas and things that offer higher returns, including the company’s global digital capabilities.

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