McDonald’s India’s hunt for a partner has been quite the spectacle. For one, the food services market in India has not seen a brand of this stature going up for grabs in years. Any company would have given an arm and a leg to take that deal, even if it is just for half the country. Second, the new partner, Sanjeev Agrawal, doesn’t really have a history or experience in the fast-food business; his MMG Group is best known for owning Coca-Cola’s biggest bottler in India. Third, India doesn’t account for much in the overall business of McDonald’s. It is almost a miracle that the company has spent an awful lot of time and money in this market to get its business right.
And finally, even after the announcement that it has chosen a new partner, McDonald’s refuses to talk about the process of selection or even the details of this arrangement. Almost as if the company is being a little too careful and trying to avoid any sort of conflict.
To understand why—and what comes next for the iconic fast-food brand—we need to dive into one of the bigger corporate battles of the last decade.