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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 05:26 GMT 06:26 UK
McDonald's and Disney end tie-up
Happy Meal toy in front of a McDonalds outlet
The firms denied the move was due to obesity concerns
Walt Disney and McDonald's are ending their 10-year Happy Meal deal, but denied the move was due to any Disney concerns about being linked to obesity.

In separate statements, both of the US giants insisted that the separation was ending amicably for business reasons.

McDonald's rejected a Los Angeles Times report that Disney wished to distance itself from so-called junk food.

The burger giant said the story was "based on Hollywood hearsay" and "a misrepresentation of the truth".

'Positive relationship'

Disney and McDonald's Happy Meal marketing alliance will end after this summer's movies Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean.

"To set the record straight, we have had a very positive relationship with McDonald's for the last 10 years," said Disney in a statement.

According to market estimates, Disney gained $100m (54m) a year in royalties from McDonald's under the deal.

Analyst Laura Martin of Soleil Media Metrics said health concerns could be part of the thinking for the decision, but that "a bigger determinant to ending a deal is economics".

She suggested that Disney may now be seeking other food partners, and that McDonald's is already tied up with Disney's rival DreamWorks Animation after signing a two year deal last summer.

Obesity is now a growing political issue in the US, home to the highest number of obese people in the world.


SEE ALSO:
Disney puts shows online for free
10 Apr 06 |  Business
Bigger Big Mac draws MP's anger
25 Apr 06 |  UK Politics
McDonald's profits down, sales up
21 Apr 06 |  Business
Disney Hong Kong knocked over pay
09 Apr 06 |  Business
McDonald's to close 25 UK outlets
28 Feb 06 |  Business
Disney profits beat expectations
06 Feb 06 |  Business


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