| South Korea

Emart reportedly in talks to increase stake in Starbucks Korea

Emart owner, South Korean retail giant Shinsegae Group, and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, are reportedly in the final stages of a deal to fully acquire Starbucks Korea

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seoul, South Korea | Photo credit: Starbucks Coffee Company 



According to a regulatory filing and reports in South Korean media, Shinsegae Group subsidiary, Emart, an e-commerce supermarket chain, is seeking to raise its current stake in Starbucks Korea from 50% to 70%, with Singapore-based sovereign fund GIC seeking to purchase the remaining 30% stake for a reported 800bn won ($693m).
 
Starbucks Korea was founded in 1997 as a 50-50 joint venture between Emart and Starbucks Coffee International, the global business arm of Starbucks Coffee Company. Opening its first store in Seoul in 1999, Starbucks Korea now operates around 1,574 stores across the country.
 
Despite significant trading disruption caused by the pandemic, Starbucks Korea’s annual sales grew 3% to 1.9 trillion won ($1.13bn) in 2020. South Korea is home to the largest number of branded coffee chain outlets in East Asia, with World Coffee Portal data showing the branded café market grew by a remarkable 8.3% by outlets in 2020.
 
Founded in 1955, Shinsegae Group began trading as department store operator but now has a vast number of business interests in South Korea, including fashion, food & beverage operators, hotels and e-commerce.

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