McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) agreed to sell a controlling stake in its China and Hong Kong operations to a group of investors for about $1.7 billion, a key component of the fast-food giant’s reorganization in a market where it’s striving to catch up with more nimble rivals.

Chinese state-backed conglomerate Citic Ltd., Citic Capital Holdings and U.S. private-equity firm Carlyle Group LP will acquire an 80 percent holding in a deal valuing the business at as much as $2.08 billion, according to a statement Monday. Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s will keep the remaining stake. The new owners plan to add more than 1,500 restaurants over the next five years in smaller Chinese cities.

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