US investment firm Apollo Global Management Inc and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) have been cited as interested parties in the 2,000-store coffee shop franchise
A Starbucks store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | Photo credit: Alshaya Group
Kuwait-based Alshaya Group is reportedly in talks to sell a minority stake in its sizeable Starbucks franchise business in the Middle East.
US private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) are both interested in acquiring a stake, with Alshaya Group seeking to sell approximately 30% of its business, according to a Reuters report.
Investing in a coffee chain would be a new approach for New York-based Apollo, which has interests in tech and retirement funds. However, Saudi’s PIF has steadily been increasing its coffee investments, including a $320m stake in Saudi Coffee Company, which recently struck deals to supply coffee chains Barn’s and Bon Cafe with Saudi-grown coffee.
Saudi Arabia’s PIF was first linked with a minority stake purchase in June 2022, with Bloomberg reporting that a deal was close in the following September.
Alshaya Group became Starbucks’ franchise partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in 1999 and has built a formidable business operating around 2,000 stores across Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE – as well as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
In October 2023, Alshaya Group CEO John Hadden said the franchisee was seeking to open 250 Starbucks stores annually across the Middle East to reach 3,000 outlets by 2028.
Founded in 1890, Alshaya Group is one of the largest retail operators in the Middle East with operations across the foodservice, fashion, pharmacy and entertainment industries. Its other notable licensed brands include H&M, Boots, Le Pain Quotidien, Shake Shack and Pizza Express.