Worth A Close Look

Article Excerpt

MCDONALD’S CORP. $40 (New York symbol MCD; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Consumer sector; WSSF Rating: Above average) is giving its stockholders an opportunity to exchange their McDonald’s stock for a holding in its Mexican food subsidiary. CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC. $50 (New York symbol CMG) is an 50.8%-owned McDonald’s unit that operates 500 Mexican food restaurants in 23 states. This past January, Chipotle sold “A” shares (one vote per share) to the public at $22 each. McDonald’s offer lets its investors exchange all or some of their shares for Chipotle Class B common shares (10 votes per share; New York symbol CMG.B). The company will calculate the final exchange ratio before the offer expires on October 5, 2006. McDonald’s designed the offer so that its investors get to acquire Chipotle at a 10% discount. It feels the swap is tax-deferred, but the IRS has yet to issue a final ruling. The deal resembles but does not quite qualify as a spin-off. Chipotle is far smaller…

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