• Market Crumbs

Yum! Brands Makes Second Tech Acquisition This Month


Image via Yum! Brands

Earlier this month Yum! Brands announced it agreed to acquire the artificial intelligence-based consumer insights and marketing performance analytics business of Kvantum to enhance its ability to make data-driven marketing decisions.


The move was the latest step in Yum! Brands' global technology strategy to provide a seamless experience across mobile, online, delivery and restaurant operations.


Yum! Brands—the parent of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill, didn't waste long to make its next technology acquisition as the company announced yesterday it has agreed to acquire omnichannel ordering and marketing platform company Tictuk Technologies.


Tictuk specializes in conversational commerce, which lets users place orders and interact with brands through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram as well as through SMS, QR codes and email. Yum! Brands says it has already deployed Tictuk's platform in about 900 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants across 35 countries as the acquisition will enable them to scale the platform to more franchisees.


"As we navigate a consumer landscape reshaped by the events of 2020, we continue to intensify our focus on leveraging our scale and reinforcing our growth model with investments in digital and technologies to enhance the customer and employee experience, strengthen restaurant unit economics and enable our brands and franchisees to compete and win in a rapidly changing world," Yum! Brands CEO David Gibbs said.


Yum! Brands says digital sales jumped by 45% in 2020 to a record $17 billion as the company pivots its business model to adapt to an environment where customers are no longer dining in.


As part of the deal, Tictuk will continue to offer its platform to existing clients. Both of this month's all-cash acquisitions will have an immaterial impact to Yum! Brands' 2021 financial results but the company says they should accelerate the ability to grow digital sales globally.


With two technologies deals in the last few weeks alone, Yum! Brands is focused on beefing up its technology to adapt to the changing restaurant landscape.

Leftover Crumbs

  • Rising rates hit refi demand but not purchases. As the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.36% from 3.28% last week, its highest level since last summer, applications to purchase a home rose by 3% for the week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index. Mortgage applications to refinance a home loan fell by 5% over the same period and are now down 13% since last year as mortgage rates have gained more than 50 basis points so far this year. "Mortgage rates have moved higher in tandem with Treasury yields, as the outlook for the U.S. economy continues to improve amidst the faster vaccine rollout and states easing pandemic-related restrictions," MBA economist Joel Kan said.

  • Amazon drivers must sign "Biometric Consent" form. According to Vice, Amazon delivery drivers are being asked this week to sign a Biometric Consent form or they risk being terminated. The form gives consent for the AI-powered cameras to access location, movement and biometric data while driving and can detect if a driver is yawning or not wearing a seatbelt. "Amazon may… use certain Technology that processes Biometric Information, including on-board safety camera technology which collects your photograph for the purposes of confirming your identity and connecting you to your driver account," the form reads. "Using your photograph, this Technology, may create Biometric Information, and collect, store, and use Biometric Information from such photographs."

  • Fanatics valuation doubles in seven months. Online sports retailer Fanatics has raised $320 million at a $12.8 billion valuation, just seven months after raising funds at a $6.2 billion valuation last August. According to CNBC, Fanatics plans to use the funds to grow its vertical commerce division, explore mergers and acquisitions and expand internationally. Fanatics used the funds raised in August to acquire competitors as the company now reaches 80 million sports consumers. Asked about an IPO last month, a Fanatics spokesperson said "While an IPO is clearly an available path to us, there is no update on any timeline."

  • Uber expands prescription delivery service. Prescription delivery company ScriptDrop, which counts Albertsons, Kmart and Safeway among its clients, has struck a deal to make Uber its default delivery provider in 37 states. The company's have additional expansion plans, including new states, that will be shared in the coming weeks. The deal is the latest move by Uber into prescription delivery after first venturing into the space through a partnership announced last August with NimbleRx.

  • IKEA invests in mapping startup. IKEA owner Ingka Group has invested $16 million for a stake in British mapping startup what3words. The startup has a new twist on mapping by dividing the world into three metre squares that can be used for to improve logistics. "What3words has created an innovative solution to the problem of poor and inaccurate addressing, which is a problem in both developing and developed countries," Ingka Group said. "Unlike a regular street address, which points to a street or building, the system allows people to specify a very precise location such as a side door or utility entrance."