Pret a Manger is understood to be taking over some key sites of McDonald's coffee chain Aroma as part of its recent deal with the burger chain. McDonald's, acquired a 33% stake in the up-market British sandwich chain in January. Aroma has failed to roll out to any critical mass since the burger chain purchased them in March 1999.

Other Aroma sites may be put up for sale.

McDonald's investment will be used to support Pret A Manger's plans for international growth. . Pret has more than 100 outlets in the UK and plans more openings in Manhattan by the end of this year. The company is starting to look at expansion to Asia "in the near future".