Starbucks makes biggest-ever acquisition in China

July 28, 2017

Starbucks is buying out its joint venture partners in China for $1.3bn (£994m), marking the coffee chain’s biggest-ever acquisition.

The all-cash deal will see Starbucks buy the remaining 50% stake it does not already own, in the firm’s fastest-growing market outside of the US.

It will then gain full control over 1,300 stores in the Chinese provinces of Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

The announcement was made ahead of its quarterly profit release on Thursday.

Starbucks said net income fell 8.3% to $691.6m for the three months to July, which only just matched market expectations.

The company also announced plans to close all 379 of its Teavana stores by the middle of next year because they have been “persistently underperforming”. About 3,300 jobs will be affected.

Starbucks had bought the tea brand for $620m in 2012 but says it will continue to carry the products in its main Starbucks stores.

Starbucks shares fell 5.5% to $56.24 in after-hours trading.

Chinese dreams

The latest quarterly results are the first under new chief executive Kevin Johnson, who took over from co-founder Howard Schulz in December.

The world’s largest coffee chain is being affected by a reduced footfall in America’s malls and high streets.

US retailers and restaurants have been struggling as more consumers turn to shopping online or buying from meal kit sellers and convenience stores.

Starbucks’ investment in China also comes amid slowing same-store sales in the US, which rose by 5% last quarter.

Same-store sales from China, in comparison, rose 7% last quarter.

Starbucks has 2,800 stores in 130 cities in China, and aims to grow that number to more than 5,000 stores by 2021.

There are nearly 600 stores in Shanghai alone, the largest number globally of any city.

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