Starbucks Corporation to buy its Japan stores for $914 million

Starbucks Corporation has announced that it will acquire the remaining 60.5 per cent share of Starbucks Coffee Japan by 1 January 2015. Sazaby League has held the controlling share of Starbucks Japan, since the first Starbucks store opened in Tokyo in 1996. According to Fitch Ratings, the 1034 Starbucks branded stores generated US$1.2 billion of revenue during the fiscal year ending 31 March 2014. “We have full confidence that Starbucks will continue to care for our dedicated partners, loyal customers and neighbouring communities with the same personalised attention and respect they’ve provided since opening our first Starbucks store,” said Masatoku Mori, President and Representative Director, Sazaby, in a statement. “It has been an honor for Sazaby to be part of the Starbucks family for nearly two decades.” Sazaby approached Starbucks about selling its store ownership stake in advance of the expiration of Starbucks Japan’s retail franchise rights, Starbucks reported. The initial tender of Sazeby’s shares began last week, at a purchase price of approximately US$505 million for the first 39.5 per cent stake. The remaining 21 per cent, which is currently held by public shareholders and option holders of Starbucks Japan’s common stock, will be purchased following the release of Starbucks Japan’s second quarter earnings results. According to Fitch Ratings, the total purchase price of approximately US$914 million will be primarily funded with offshore cash. At June 29, 2014, US$1.3 billion of Starbucks' US$2 billion of cash and investments were held in foreign subsidiaries. Fitch Ratings said the ratings for Starbucks Corporation are unaffected by the company's pending purchase. Starbucks had approximately US$2.1 billion of total debt at 29 June, 2014.

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