Starbucks Corp. said Thursday it is acquiring the 50% stake in its East China joint venture it does not already own for about $1.3 billion in cash. The company will assume 100% ownership of about 1,300 Starbucks stores in Shanghai and Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. The coffee store chain said it is still committed to operating more than 5,000 stores in Mainland China by 2021. The company said it's also divesting a 50% stake in its Taiwanese joint venture for about $175 million. The Taiwan venture operates about 410 stores in Taiwan. "Full ownership will give us the opportunity to fully leverage our robust business infrastructure to deliver an elevated coffee, in-store third place experience and digital innovation to our customers, and further strengthen the career development opportunities for our people," said Belinda Wong, chief executive, Starbucks China, in a statement. The company will update investors on the impact the deals will have on earnings on its third fiscal quarter call later Thursday. Shares were up 0.5% in premarket trade, and have gained 4.4% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 11%.
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