| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Starbucks exits to let partner run South Korea venture valued at over $2 bln

Starbucks Corp is selling part of its stake to local partner E-Mart In valued at over $2 billion, and the rest to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC.

E-Mart, one of the largest retailers in South Korea that currently owns half the JV, will buy an additional 17.5 percent stake in Starbucks Coffee Korea for $411 million, it said in a filing on Tuesday. It will continue to operate the Starbucks stores. GIC will own the remaining 32.5 percent.

This suggests a $2.35 billion valuation for the entire business, and that GIC will pay more than $700 million for its stake, according to Reuters calculations.

Starbucks said the deal is expected to be completed over the next 90 days. The U.S. coffee giant counts South Korea as its fifth-largest market.

“South Korea continues to be an important market for Starbucks,” Michael Conway, Starbucks’ group president for international and channel development, said in a statement.

“Part of our success in South Korea – and in many of our international markets – is due to our expertise and judgment in knowing when to rely on local partners to continue to build the business.”

With more than 1,500 stores across 78 cities, Starbucks Coffee Korea’s operating profit surged nearly three-quarters to 45.4 billion won ($39.5 million) in January-March. Last year, amid pandemic curbs, earnings fell 6% from 2019 numbers.

  • Reuters