McDonald's latest acquisition is a game changer

Data: Dealogic; Note: Excludes Wendy's acquisitions of the interests of Wendy's and Wendy's International franchisees in 2005, 2006, 2014 and 2015; Adjusted for inflation; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

McDonald's acquisition of sales assistant software Dynamic Yield to better personalize its menus is the 8th largest U.S. fast food acquisition in history but it's far and away the biggest of its kind.

Be smart: It's a rare instance of a major U.S. fast food company buying something other than another fast food company.

  • Yum Brands is behind the 2 exceptions. In 2018, Yum bought a 3% stake in GrubHub worth about $200 million.
  • Yum's Pizza Hut bought QuikOrder, an online ordering software and service provider for restaurants, late last year. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Why it matters: The fast food industry has made technology a priority, but typically it's expressed that through partnerships. McDonald's has partnered with Uber Eats, for example, and with Dynamic Yield for a test program in Miami.

  • Companies also invest in internal tech development. Domino's has been rewarded by higher sales and a stock price boost for its use of technology to appeal to customers. But Domino's has never acquired anything but other restaurants, FactSet data shows.

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