McDonald’s Sells AI Startup Championed by Ex-CEO to Mastercard
(Bloomberg) -- McDonald’s Corp. agreed to sell Dynamic Yield, an artificial intelligence startup acquired under its former CEO in 2019 for more than $300 million, to Mastercard Inc. for an undisclosed amount.
The deal gives Mastercard technology used to personalize menus and browsing options online and at physical stores. Chicago-based McDonald’s, which will remain a customer, has used Dynamic Yield in drive-thru menus and ordering kiosks. Mastercard has other customers who use Dynamic Yield, the companies said in a statement.
Former McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook had raised eyebrows with the acquisition, the company’s largest in decades, because the New York-based startup’s business was far afield from selling burgers and milkshakes. Franchisees sometimes resisted his push to spend on new technology, though his drive to develop mobile ordering and delivery services paid off when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. By then, Easterbrook had been fired after the company discovered he had been in sexual relationships with subordinates.
The transaction will close in the first half of 2022, the companies said. Dynamic Yield CEO Liad Agmon will step aside and become an adviser, with Chief Technology Officer Ori Bauer replacing him.
Chicago-based McDonald’s shares rose 1% at 9:42 a.m. in New York.
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