McDonald's REIT Proponent Larry Robbins Sells Stake in Company

  • Glenview's Robbins had pushed McDonald's to separate property
  • Fast-food giant said last week that it wouldn't pursue a REIT

Hedge-fund manager Larry Robbins, who pushed for McDonald’s Corp. to spin off its real estate, has sold his firm’s stake in the fast-food chain.

Robbins’ firm, Glenview Capital Management LLC, reduced its holdings in McDonald’s to zero as of Sept. 30, according to a regulatory filing on Monday. Glenview had previously owned about 2.9 million shares, an amount worth $322 million at current prices. The New York-based investment firm declined to comment.

Robbins said earlier this year that McDonald’s could unlock at least $20 billion in shareholder value by converting its properties into a real estate investment trust, or REIT. The sale of Glenview’s holdings came before McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook announced a decision on the matter. He said last week that the chain wouldn’t be pursuing a REIT.

Investors like REITs because they offer tax advantages and are often valued at higher multiples to earnings. The trusts must pay out at least 90 percent of taxable earnings to shareholders as dividends. In exchange, REITs don’t pay federal income taxes on that profit.

The company gave the idea of a REIT “serious consideration” but decided to focus instead on its current turnaround plan, Easterbrook said.

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