McDonald's Sale of Donatos Pizzeria Looms

Columbus, Ohio-McDonald's Corp. reportedly is close to finalizing a deal to sell the Donatos Pizzeria chain back to its founder Jim Grote, media reports said. Donatos' spokesperson Tom Krouse declined to comment.

Rumors have circulated for months that the burger giant was looking to negotiate a sale of the 180-unit pizza chain to Grote, amid speculation that McDonald's was shopping around at least some of its nonburger concepts, or "partner brands," which also include Boston Market and Chipotle. Last month, McDonald's said it would take a fourth-quarter charge for actions related to its partner brands, which as a group are losing money.

Grote founded Donatos some 40 years ago before selling it to McDonald's in 1999 for an undisclosed price. -Nation's Restaurant News