McDonald’s Corporation and Accel-KKR, Inc. announced June 22 they have agreed to form eMac Digital, a new company designed to accelerate the development of global Internet related businesses. eMac Digital will be based in Chicago and will initially focus on business-to-business opportunities that drive efficiencies, maximize cost savings and create new markets and distribution channels.

Accel-KKR, Inc., of Palo Alto, is a company formed by Accel Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. to help businesses integrate offline and online operations.

“McDonald’s is excited about bringing our experience and strengths to the digital economy,” said Jack Greenberg, chairman and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation. “We remain firmly committed to our core business around the world—selling great food at a great value and opening an average of five new McDonald’s restaurants a day. Yet, we owe it to our employees, franchisees, suppliers and shareholders to aggressively pursue innovations that expand, extend and deliver value to the brand and the entire McDonald’s System. McDonald’s wants the best people and partnerships that will help ensure enduring, profitable growth for our business. This strategic business decision is yet another step in our quest to be the best.”

eMac Digital will have its own board of directors and will begin immediately to recruit a chief executive officer and senior management team. The board will include Jack Greenberg and James Breyer, Managing Partner of Accel Partners and a Director of Accel-KKR. McDonald’s and Accel-KKR have each made equity investments to capitalize eMac Digital.

Initially, eMac Digital will leverage McDonald’s strengths by creating, developing and investing in new enabling platforms that can help food service companies reduce transaction costs, communicate more effectively and improve quality of operations.

James Breyer of Accel, commenting on eMac Digital business strategy, said, “We envision that eMac Digital will create a variety of trading exchanges and complementary business service companies. We believe this partnership is an ideal way to use online technologies to create additional value for the McDonald’s System, one of the world’s largest purchasers of agricultural products, by streamlining processes and reducing costs.”

Mats Lederhausen, Vice President of Strategy for McDonald’s and head of its digital strategy development, said, “We sought out a strong partner with a proven track record of building new businesses in the new economy. We considered partnering with a number of traditional venture capital firms on the development of our Internet initiative, but concluded that Accel-KKR brings a unique set of skills and a compelling approach to building e-commerce businesses in cooperation with leading companies like McDonald’s. They take a long term view of building new businesses, and they see very clearly the enormous value that exists through alliances with larger, well-established companies.”

Henry Kravis, Founding Partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and a Director of Accel-KKR, said, “McDonald’s is one of the premiere companies in the world, a blue-chip $38 billion brand that is the pioneer and leader of its industry. It has more than 27,000 restaurants that serve more than 43 million customers every day. We are confident that the combination of McDonald’s retail expertise and logistical knowledge, and Accel-KKR’s technological and company-building skills will create exciting and powerful new business opportunities.”

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