SEOUL, July 27 (Yonhap) -- E-Mart Inc. said Friday it will acquire an additional 17.5 percent stake in Starbucks Coffee Korea for 474.2 billion won (US$412 million) to become the coffee chain's largest shareholder.
The stake purchase would raise South Korea's top discount chain operator's interest in the leading coffee franchise in Asia's fourth-largest economy to 67.5 percent, E-Mart said in a regulatory filing.
Starbucks Coffee Korea is a 50-50 joint venture between E-Mart and Starbucks Coffee International.
E-Mart said Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC will buy the remaining 32.5 percent held by the U.S. coffee franchise.
Shinsegae Group, the parent of E-Mart, said it has decided to purchase the additional stake to seek new growth for the coffee franchise in the local market.
Starbucks Coffee Korea, which opened its first store in Seoul in July 1999, had 1,500 stores across the nation as of the end of December last year.
Starbucks Coffee Korea posted its best performance in 2020 since its debut here, with sales flirting around 2 trillion won.
Concerning rumors of Starbucks Coffee Korea's listing on the local stock market, a Shinsegae official said the stake purchase contract doesn't include a clause on the coffee chain's bourse debut.
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