A consortium including private-equity giant Carlyle Group is close to a deal valued at as much as $2 billion to buy McDonald’s China franchise, giving the US fast-food chain operator cash and local help cracking the China market. McDonald’s is selling a roughly 80% stake in its China franchise to the Carlyle consortium, which also includes Chinese state-owned conglomerate Citic, according to The Wall Street Journal. The proposed deal, which still needs a final signoff from the McDonald’s board, could fetch the company an upfront payment of between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. An announcement could be made as early as next week. McDonald’s has about 2,200 stores in China, about one-third of which are already franchised. All of the company’s remaining China stores would be franchised under the deal, with McDonald’s keeping a 20% stake in them.