Starbucks to exit South Korea venture, sell stake to E-Mart, GIC

Reuters

Posted at Jul 27 2021 02:11 PM

Starbucks Corp said on Monday it will exit any direct ownership in South Korea, its fifth-largest market, selling the 50 percent stake it owns in a joint venture to local partner E-Mart Inc and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, GIC.

E-Mart, which currently owns 50 percent of Starbucks Coffee Korea, said it would acquire an additional 17.5 percent take that would be worth 474 billion won ($411.89 million).

That also suggests a $2.35 billion valuation for Starbucks Coffee Korea, Reuters calculations showed.

GIC will own the remaining 32.5 percent of the venture, Starbucks said.

The US coffee chain operates more than 1,500 stores across 78 cities in South Korea, where 2020 revenue rose 3.2 percent to 1.93 trillion won despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As a long-term investor, GIC is confident that Starbucks Coffee Korea will play an important role in setting retail coffee trends and further driving industry growth," said Choo Yong Cheen, GIC's chief investment officer of private equity.

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