Starbucks Takes Full Ownership of East China Business

By Imani Moise Features Dow Jones Newswires

Starbucks Corp. said Thursday that it will become the full owner of its East China joint venture in a bid to expand its presence in Asia.

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The coffee chain will acquire the remaining 50% stake in the joint venture that it doesn't already to own from Uni-President Enterprises Corp. and President Chain Store Corp. for roughly $1.3 billion in cash. At that price, the deal is the largest acquisition in the company's history.

Upon closing, Starbucks will operate 1,300 stores in the in Shanghai and Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. The company has previously laid out plans to operated 5,000 stores in mainland China, its fastest-growing international market, by 2021.

"Unifying the Starbucks business under a full company-operated structure in China reinforces our commitment to the market and is a firm demonstration of our confidence in the current local leadership team said Starbucks chief executive, Kevin Johnson.

Uni-President Enterprises and President Chain Store will also buy Starbuck's 50% stake in President Starbucks Coffee Taiwan Ltd, which operates 410 coffee shops in Taiwan, for $175 million.

Starbucks shares edged up half of a percent to $58.23 premarket and have risen 4.4% so far this year.

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Write to Imani Moise at imani.moise@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2017 08:23 ET (12:23 GMT)