Louisville Courier-Journal:

A campaign at Yum! Brands to sell more of the company’s U.S. restaurants to franchisees is more difficult due to the credit crunch, a company executive said today.

So far this year, Louisville-based Yum has sold 421 restaurants to franchisees, and chief financial officer Rick Carucci said in a conference call that he still expects to reach a goal of selling at least 500 stores by the end of the year. But the recent turmoil in financial markets has made it tougher for some business owners to borrow money. Carucci offered a softer view of Yum’s goal to reduce company ownership to below 10 percent of its nearly 18,000 overall domestic restaurants by the end of 2010.

“We don’t have to hit the timeline,” he said.

Selling restaurants to franchisees lowers the amount of money Yum needs to spend on capital improvements, and it leads to a more stable fee-based source of revenue. Yum owned about 20 percent or 3,485 stores of its domestic restaurants as of Sept. 6. The company’s brands are KFC, Pizza Hut , Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s and A & W. Read more.