Highfields, Glenview Add McDonald’s Shares Amid Turnaround

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Hedge funds Highfields Capital Management and Glenview Capital Management bought shares in McDonald’s Corp. in the first quarter as the restaurant chain works to reverse slowing sales.

Highfields, based in Boston and run by Jonathon Jacobson, added about 9 million shares in the the world’s largest restaurant chain, bringing the value of the stock held to $955.6 million, according to a filing on Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Glenview, run by Larry Robbins, purchased 2.9 million shares, a new stake that was valued at $282.7 million at the end of the quarter.

McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook, who took the helm in March, has unveiled a plan to boost McDonald’s sales and profitability. The changes include a leadership shuffle, cost cuts and a push to sell more company-owned locations to franchisees.

Robbins said at a conference in February that the restaurant chain could be better organized as an operating or property company. Bill Ackman, head of Pershing Square Capital Management, has also said that McDonald’s could be managed better, although he added that he considered its stock price rich.

Highfields also bought call options valued at $417.3 million, which brings the value of the total investment to about $1.3 billion. Call options give a buyer the right to purchase shares at a specific price.

Money managers who oversee more than $100 million in equities must file a Form 13F within 45 days of each quarter’s end to list their U.S.-traded stocks, options and convertible bonds. The filings don’t show non-U.S. securities or how much cash the firms hold.

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